Its a curious thing how the success of one horse on a yard can seem to rub off on its stable-mates. Last year Clayton Frederickss wife Lucinda won Burghley Horse Trials. This year, less blond but almost as pretty, Clayton was the first-phase leader.
“Im disappointed. Im sure there were more people here last year to listen to Lucinda,” jibed Clayton at his post-test press conference.
In the interim, Team Fredericks has won Badminton and Lexington.
But for a while, it seemed the conventional format of the best dressage tests occurring on the second day might be blown away. Three-quarters of Fridays riders performed their tests in blustery conditions, and still no one bettered Andrew Nicholson’s Thursday mark on Lord Killinghurst.
Then arrived Clayton Frederick and Nullabor, a great big bull of a horse who is apparently a bit of a pig in the stable and broke the 40pen barrier. Clayton may lack his wifes grace in a dressage saddle, but increasingly hes matching her prowess in this discipline, and rode the counter canter especially with immeasurable tact. Now he will face added pressure or incentive, depending which way you see it across country tomorrow on the horse he scratched at Badminton. This will be Nullabors first four-star attempt in Britain.
With the European Championships only a fortnight away, the 2007 Burghley Horse Trials field may not be a vintage one, and it may be a tad cooler here than wed like, but Burghley retains its customary buzz. Its one of the most visitor and shopper-friendly events of them all.
The ground rarely cuts up and theres even a Pedigree-sponsored lacky topping up the doggy watering bowls alongside the Members area. Surprisingly stylish crowds meander between gourmet food and funky clothing stands, and todays must-have invite is to the book launch of William Fox-Pitts new autobiography.
Tomorrow, style makes way for the rough and tough of cross-country. Ill be tackling it in trainers with a three-wheeler baby buggy. I just hope Ive done enough fitness work for the hills.