Townend Gallops To Burghley Lead

Oliver Townend jumps through the Maltings
Credit : Silverhill Webdesign

Saturday 02 September - 17h25 | Lulu Kyriacou

Townend Gallops To Burghley Lead

Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class havetaken the lead at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials after a dramatic day of cross country  saw the lead change several times. It has ended, however with a British 1,2,3 with everything depending on the showjumping as no-one has any room for mistakes, the leader-board is so tight. It was an encouraging day for te US riders, two are now in the top ten and several had good rounds.  

 - Townend Gallops To Burghley Lead

Lynn Symansky and Donner jump through the Arena
Credit : Silverhill Webdesign

Tina Cook could not have looked better as first to go on Star Witness. Smooth, clean and effortlessly (to observers!) inside the time.  Course designer Capt Mark Phillips must have been worried he had made the course too easy but the undulations of Burghley and the cleverness of the design soon began to take their toll and it didn't  take long before the faults started coming.

The first drama came when  Andrew Nicholson was deposited from his first ride Quanza at a new fence, a log combination called Storm Doris.  Then Michael Jung was clear and up on the clock when he seemed to have a miscommunication with La Biosthetique Sam, loosing his reins jumping into the Trout Hatchery and so did not get to the second part, where Sam ran out.  After the run out, Jung wisely retired the 17 year old.  The Trout Hatchery  was also responsible for the loss of Zara Tindall, who seemed to jump in fine on High Kingdom but he caught a leg on the skinny in the lake, twisted and his ride had no chance of staying on. Tindal was clearly furious with herself as she got up!

Gemma Tattersall on the other hand,  went long at that Fence but otherwise had a briliant round on Arctic Soul.  As did Izzy Taylor and Trevidden  who were the fastest round of the day and are an extremely exciting prospect for the British. Although this is his first 4*, Trevidden had won three 3* events this year including Bramham on the way to Burghley.


 - Townend Gallops To Burghley Lead

Mixed Fortunes for the USA

Mixed Fortunes for the USA - Townend Gallops To Burghley Lead

Boyd Martin, Steady Eddie, into the top ten
Credit : Silverhill Webdesign

Andrew Nicholson saw Rolex Grand Slam hopes slip away somewhat when he added 7.6 for time on Nereo  and he was shortly followed onto the track by the overnight leaders, Sir Mark Todd and Leonidas.  Looking for his sixth win at the championships, he went long at the Trout Hatchery but sadly the pair came to grief at Discovery Valley,  another to over jump the first part and crumple on landing.  Other British riders were showing their class like Tom McEwen who added just 1.6 on Toledo de Kreisker and Piggy French whose Vanir Kamira finished with just 3.6 time.

Tina Cook went out on  her second ride, Calvino, knowing a clear inside the time would give here the lead and she was clear when held for sometime after the fall of Lillian Heard.  She was held for about 15 minutes at the awkward Discovery Valley,  and sadly had a run out on the restart at the second part. 

​Team USA saw Lauren Kieffer drop out of the top ten with teime faults on Veronica (aka 'Troll') but instead gained two into that part of the leader board when both Lynn Symansky with Donner and Boyd Martin with Steady Eddie were both clear and fast.  Both were a great advertisement for off the track Thoroughbreds, as were Star Witness and Arctic Soul.

Savanah Fulton (pictured above jumping the last by Silverhill Webdesign) was  clear on a very keen looking Captain Jack.  Hannah Sue Burnett fell at the Dairy Mound corner when Under Suspection ran out at the corner. Mackenna Shea  was going beautifully and was still clear when had a run out at the second part of Discovery Valley. Anne Baxter got unseated  when going the long way at Storm Doris.  Lauren Kieffe was already down on the clock when jumped awkwardly into Discovery Valley and had to go long and ended up significantly over the time.  Lynn Symansky went long  at the Dairy Mound as she was worried about Donner running out to the right but she made the most of the  ex racehorse's speed and good gallop to catch up and only scored 3.6 for time.  Liilian Heard was clear when she and LCC Barnaby fell at the last part of the Leaf Pitt which looked horrible but it turned out Barnaby was only winded and he eventually got up and was led away by his rider unharmed.  

But the best of the day was saved to last. Oliver Townend was absolutely sensational on Ballaghmor Quest.  Giving the 4* debutant horse the best ride possible, he became the overnight leader on a score of 40.6. "Like his name, he is class. He is still a bay and does babyish things so there is lots to improve on which is a good thing. It is very good  to be back here in the lead but i never felt I have had bad times, just lacked the right horse after winning here aged 26, and of course then I thought I would be winning here like that every year. Ballaghmor Class was wild as youngster – everyone’s had a go at falling off him – and he has done lots of things he shouldn’t, but then so have I!""

So the top three are all British and Chris Bartle, the new team manager was delighted. "I have only been in the job since January  and I could not be happier.  I have a vision on who they should ride but I really want is to give them a we can do it attitude.  Oliver has every attribute you need to win in spades. Gemma has been fantastic  and she did everything according to the rules as I call them.  Piggy is so improved after having her baby, I might ask others to try that.  Tom produced a blinder and so did Izzy."

Rider reactions

Rider reactions - Townend Gallops To Burghley Lead

Lauren Kieffer
Credit : Silverhill Webdesign

Tina Cook-I am really welling up actually. Star Witness has been here twice and been placed both times, sometimes he doesn't get the credit he deserves. He is a full Thoroughbred but rides like a pony and is so polite and scopey, he is a delight to ride. When you are jumping a track like this, you need a horse who would help you out, which he does and I can't wait for my second ride today. On Calvino, it's frustrating, but I drifted a little left. It's just unfortunate.  
Gemma Tattersall- Artic Soul was very fiesty and strong today and I have a cold and a chest infection so it was quite a challenge! I felt like i couldn't help him out but luckily I just pointed him and he is so genuine he just said there are the flags and went.  I had decided before the fence to go long at the Trout Hatchery as he was feeling so strong and I knew Michael (Jung) had run out there so I decided to play safe before I even got to the first part.
Izzy Taylor- He was super, he loves to gallop and finished full of running. I have only had him a year but we clicked straight away and for sure he could get me back on a British team, he is very exciting, a pleasure to ride cross country and he makes me want to get up in the morning.
Andrew Nicholson- The course did start big and then walked smaller and more trappy but we got used to courses that started small and got bigger so the designers have to do something different and that is the sport. Yes, I am a bit bruised after falling on Qwanza but you would have to be in a bad way to not want to get on Nereo. We did get some time but both of us are getting older now!
Piggy French- She (Vanir Kamira) was great, fabulous, I can't believe it. She gave me the best ride ever.  She even walked into the start box, which never happens! It just shows you never know with horses. And this was a great course, I just loved it.
Capt Mark Phillips- My daughter (Zara Tindall)  will be annoyed but she did just fall off! Her horse made a bit of a mistake but she fell off!! I gave Tina Cook a big hug and told her she didn't have to make it look that easy! Some of the riders did not take the get outs I had given them on the course. I had a plan for bad weather but it was perfect and the riders have to make it easy for the horse. Tina Cook made it look so smooth and easy. Nice to see a few Brits at the top!
Mark Todd- He just over jumped, very disappointing after finally getting a good dressage score.

​Full results are here

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