Less than a fence separates top-two after cross-country day at Burghley

  • On his third ride at the 2023 Defender Burghley Horse Trials, Oliver Townend retained his second place on the leaderboard by a whisker as the legendary performer Ballaghmor Class jumped clear around the Burghley Horse Trials cross-country course, picking up 4.8 time-faults.

    Oliver and Karyn Shuter, Angela Hislop and Val Ryan’s 16-year-old, who won Burghley in 2017, was in third after dressage on 24.2 – the same score as Swallow Springs in second, but separated by their collectives – quite a way behind Tim Price and Vitali, who scored a record breaking 18.7. Oliver’s efforts today means the pair are now just 2.3 penalties behind the current leaders, so it will be all to play for in tomorrow’s final showjumping phase.

    “What can I say about this horse,” said Oliver. “He’s not always straightforward, but he always gets the job done. At fence five, he completely got away with me, but I managed to get him back, thankfully. Today, I never felt like I could get him into fifth gear. When I went to slow him down before a combination I wasn’t getting the response I needed. So, I made sure to focus on him more than how the course was feeling.

    “He’s not showing his age at all and he’s still as keen as ever. He’s in a different league.”

    The final combination to run, Harry Meade and Tenareze, headed into the cross-country with a dressage score of 30.1. The 16-year-old was Harry’s third ride of the day. The pair recovered well after a slight hesitation at the big brush oxer at the Leaf Pit, which then led to a knocked flag on the final brush. They finished the day in 9th place, although the horse looked sore after pulling up. More info to follow when it becomes available.

    Burghley Horse Trials top-10 after cross-country

    Heading into tomorrow’s final showjumping phase, Tim Price and Vitali currently lead the field with less than a fence in hand over Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class. After going inside the time across country David Doel and Galileo Nieuwmoed moved into third, while Wills Oakden and Oughterard Cooley now sit in fourth after also jumping clear without time-penalties.

    In fifth is Sam Watson and SAP Talisman while Harry Meade and Cavalier Crystal are sixth. Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg TSF are seventh, Pippa Funnell and Majas Hope occupy eighth, with Harry Meade and Tenareze ninth. The top-10 are completed by Wills Oakden with his other horse Arklow Puissance.

    The final horse inspection is expected to take place at 9am tomorrow (Sunday 3 September), with those horses passed fit to continue going forwards to the final jumping phase to decide the competition.

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