Oliver Townend leads Burghley Horse Trials after cross-country

  • Dressage leader Oliver Townend has kept the top spot after the cross-country at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.

    Oliver added just 3.2 time-penalties with Carousel Quest to finish on a score of 43. He has a fence in hand over second-placed Sam Griffiths and Happy Times going into tomorrow’s show jumping.

    “He’s a class horse and his only downfall is that sometimes he tries too hard,” said Oliver. “He jumps too big at times and you’ve got to set him up a bit too much, which is possibly why I got the time-faults, but hopefully looking after him today will pay off tomorrow.”

    Oliver ran near the end of the field and said that he’d been asleep most of the day, “but every time I woke up and stuck my head out of the wagon someone was running out at fence six”.

    Fence six, Discovery Valley, certainly became the bogey fence on Mark Phillips’s course, with numerous horses running out at the angled hedge (part c) which followed the ditch and step up (part b) on one stride. Oliver, along with a few other later riders, rode a different line to the obvious one, jumping the ditch on the far left, making a sharp turn and kicking on to the hedge from a straight approach.

    “I hadn’t actually walked that line, but my friends told me where to go and although it looked a bit rough — because the horse was exuberant and got to the ditch on two strides rather than three — it worked,” said Oliver.

    Listen to interview with Oliver Townend

    Australia’s Sam Griffiths rode one of just five rounds inside the 10min 34sec optimum time to move up from 10th equal after dressage to second on Happy Times, the 10-year-old who was third at Badminton.

    “He’s still a young horse and inexperienced, but he’s growing up and getting used to the crowds, so he’s definitely a better horse since Badminton,” said Sam.

    Listen to interview with Sam Griffiths

    Caroline Powell added 5.2 time-faults to hold third place for New Zealand on the 16-year-old Lenamore.

    “I went out knowing I’d get a few time-faults as he’s getting a bit slower, but his little legs couldn’t have gone any faster so I’m pleased,” said Caroline. “I had a lovely round with no ‘oh my God’ moments, and although he was getting a bit tired at the end, the crowds picked him up as he came through the arena.”

    Listen to interview with Caroline Powell

    Andrew Nicholson was the best-placed rider to fall victim to the course, falling off Nereo (second after dressage) at the tricky corners at the Land Rover Dairy Farm (fence 16ab).

    J-P Sheffield also had a fall, parting company with Crown Farm Consort (fifth after dressage) at the arrowhead house out of the Leaf Pit (fence 4ab).

    There were 36 clear jumping rounds and 52 finishers from 77 starters. Harry Meade suffered the only horse fall, when his first ride Dunauger refused and then became stuck at the alternative corner at the Capability’s Classic (fence 19ab). The horse was extracted, washed off and then walked into a horse ambulance to return uninjured to the stables.

    The trot-up tomorrow is at 9am, with the first session of show jumping scheduled to start at 10.30am.


    1. Oliver Townend on Carousel Quest (GB) 43
    2. Sam Griffiths on Happy Times (AUS) 48.3
    3. Caroline Powell on Lenamore (NZL) 50.4
    4. Phillip Dutton on Truluck (USA) 50.5
    5. Clayton Fredericks on Poilu (AUS) 51.7
    6. Polly Stockton on Westwood Poser (GB) 51.7

    Full results

    Replay today’s action with our H&H Live written commentary.

    Follow the show jumping live with H&H online’s up-to-the-minute written commentary, starting again tomorrow at 10.15am. Visit www.horseandhound.co.uk/burghleylive to register for an email reminder and join in.

    Don’t forget to buy H&H next week (10 September) for our 10-page Burghley special report including colour pictures, comment from course-designer Mark Phillips and full analysis.

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