Last week’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials was notable for many reasons, particularly the tough cross-country course which only just over half the field completed.
Some experienced horses impressed — such as Piggy French’s runner-up Vanir Kamira and Oliver Townend’s third-placed Ballaghmor Class — but a few younger ones also stuck their hands up as serious stars of the future.
Here are eight horses who are just 10 or 11 years — which is young in terms of five-star eventing — who completed Mark Phillips’ challenging cross-country track and went on to finish at Burghley…
1. Goldsmiths Imber, ridden and owned by Arthur Chabert (above). French rider Arthur is married to British eventer Kirsty Johnstone and based at her family’s Opposition Stud. This pair finished 17th on their five-star debut.
2. Caroline Teltsch’s Santiago Bay, ridden by Gemma Tattersall. A double CCI4*-S winner this year, this mare put in a storming cross-country round for Gemma — who had to nerve herself up to go out again after an earlier fall from Arctic Soul — to take seventh place.
3. The Deniro Syndicate and Ocala Horse Properties’ Deniro Z, ridden by Liz Halliday-Sharp. This US pair put disappointment earlier this year — an early fall at Kentucky, a slip on the flat in Aachen — behind them to land 15th place.
4. Panda Christie and Dan Jocelyn’s Blackthorn Cruise, ridden by New Zealand rider Dan. This horse was second in the CCI4*-L at Tattersalls in June this year and followed up with 24th at Burghley, with his only cross-country jumping fault being one broken frangible device.
5. Anne Eldridge’s Leamore Master Plan and Ariel Grald. This US rider finished best of the home side first-timers at Kentucky in the spring in 12th and then put in a stonking performance at Burghley to take 10th and the accolade of best debutante.
6. MGH Bingo Boy, owned and ridden by Nicky Hill. Nicky and this pair were best British first-timers at Badminton in the spring in 18th. Burghley didn’t go quite so well with 20 jumping penalties across country, but they finished up the event with a showjumping clear to complete in 27th.
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7. Christine Quigley and Samantha Lissington’s Ricker Ridge Rui, ridden by Samantha. This New Zealand rider has recently moved to Britain and they completed their first Burghley in 30th place after one stop across country.
8. Jonathan and Jane Clarke’s MGH Grafton Street, ridden by Pippa Funnell. We couldn’t round off our list without giving a mention to the winner, who is just 11 years old and won on his first attempt at five-star.
Pictures by Peter Nixon, Benjamin Clarke Photography and Lucy Merrell
Full Burghley report in tomorrow’s issue of Horse & Hound magazine (dated 12 September), including full analysis of every phase and exclusive comments from Harry Meade and ground jury president Nicky Burton.