Rolex is running a PROPER competition for the media covering this year’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. They haven’t set the usual thundering brainteaser (eg which granddaughter of The Queen is the current eventing world champion?). They are actually asking you to predict who’ll win Burghley.
Judging by the diverse entries I’ve seen scattered round the press tent, the journalist jury is out on who that will be.
Lenamore, Caroline Powell’s lovely grey campaigner (lying second) who exudes such enthusiasm across country, really deserves a four-star win to fill that gap on his CV.
Oliver Townend (lying third) clearly feels a double is within his grasp from his enthusiastic topper waving to the crowd after his test on Carousel Quest.
William Fox-Pitt’s (in fourth) dominance here almost makes him ‘Mr Burghley’, and though Ruth Edge has seen many a dressage lead slip away across country, she has shown she can win a four-star in the past (Luhmuhlen) and must surely do so again eventually.
And if Andrew Nicholson can sort out the flying changes on Rosemary Barlow stunning grey, Avebury, he too could have been in the top four after dressage.
Burghley has never looked more lush and lovely than it does this year — but Mark Phillips told me he’s still been watering this morning, even so. With such good ground he envisages around 10 inside this famously hard to achieve time tomorrow.
“The going is second to none” is Ruth Edge’s verdict, “but the jumps certainly don’t get any smaller.”
The buzz fence is the straightforward but colossal fence 14 — all 4ft 4in by 6ft 6in of it. “If you’re going to miss, don’t miss there,” commented Mark Phillips.
With so many first-timers in the field tonight, I imagine it will occupy a few minds tonight.
Don’t forget to buy H&H next Thursday for our 10-page Burghley special report, including comment from cross-country course-designer Mark Phillips.