In the face of adversity, Andrew Hoy has reproduced his ultimate professionalism over the last four days at Burghley, hanging on to take the top spot with his leading ride, Moon Fleet, albeit by just 0.2 penalties, and finishing in fourth with his second ride, Master Monarch.
“Obviously I hadn’t exactly planned to take out the first fence”, explains Hoy. “Moon Fleet had warmed up well, but when I came to balance him before the first fence, he stuck his nose in the air and didn’t see it until we were on top of it.”
It has not been an easy time for horse or rider, with the cross-country yesterday proving a gruelling test of fitness and determination, but Hoy is no stranger to finding extra resources to cope with the highest level of competition, and this weekend fought for a well-deserved victory – his first four-star win in 25 years. He last recorded a victory at this level at Burghley in 1979 on Davey.
Hoy was the overnight leader by such a convincing margin that there was always little doubt that he would win. However, there was a good deal of upset amongst the remaining placings over what seemed to be a fairly gremlin-free show jumping track.
Bumble Thomas was one of the few riders to produce an immaculate round on The Psephologist to move up from fourth into second place – her best four-star result to date. All in spite of a long hold up on the cross country late yesterday afternoon.
“It is always hard to be held up, especially for such a long time,” commented the 33-year-old. “The most important thing is to keep both you and the horse motivated, and unfortunately I knew what had gone on, and then such a long hold up really made it harder.”
Thomas has been enjoying a fabulous season, which got off to a good start with a third place at Badminton. There she lost out to New Zealander Andrew Nicholson on Lord Killinghurst, but a minor mistake from them reversed their fortunes this time.
Nicholson’s second ride, Mr Smiffy was one of a few horses to do a demolition job in the show jumping, dropping five poles to move down eight places to sixteenth. This pair suffered a similar fate at Badminton last year, when they had been poised to finish in one of the top three spots.
It was a joy to see the stallion Internet back in action, responding to the demands of the job in an appropriately honest fashion. Ridden by New Zealander Kate Hewlett, he was the only stallion to finish here, just as he was the only stallion to complete in 15th place at Badminton this spring.
Blyth Tait produced a professional clear round to mark his retirement from the international circuit. And the combination then had a meteoric rise up the rankings from 16th to eighth place when competitor after competitor above him failed to record a clear round – they had originally been in a lowly 39th place at the end of the dressage.
Burghley final results:
1. Moon Fleet (Andrew Hoy AUS) 56.4
2. The Psephologist (Bumble Thomas) 56.6
3. Lord Killinghurst (Andrew Nicholson NZL) 57.4
4. Master Monarch (Andrew Hoy AUS) 57.6
5. Shear H2O (Leslie Law) 65.6
6. Tangle Man (Polly Stockton) 67.2
7. Internet (Kate Hewlett NZL) 71.0
8. Eze (Blyth Tait NZL) 76.8
9. Captain Christy (Kristina Cook) 77.2
10. Minuto (Bill Levett AUS) 79.0