Australia’s Chris Burton hit the headlines this weekend when he clinched the 2016 Burghley title — his first British four-star win — aboard Nobilis 18. Find out all you need to know about this Antipodean eventing star
1. Thirty-four-year-old event rider Chris Burton is based at Grubbins Farm near Godalming in Surrey with his wife Rebekah Thompson, but he grew up on a grain farm near Toowoomba in Queensland, Australia.
2. His mother was a great horsewoman, who taught Chris and his older brother Karl to ride. While Karl used to like herding the cattle, Chris used to spend his time looking for logs to jump on his pony. Karl is now a professional camp drafting and cutting rider.
3. For his third birthday Chris was given a naughty pony called Clancy, and then at the age of six he was given Spice, a part-quarter horse, who could do everything from winning bending races to showjumping, which she did to the ripe old age of 35.
4. When he left school Chris had the full-thoroughbred Deo Juvante and moved south to become a working pupil for Kevin McNab. He credits Deo Juvante with taking him from junior and one-stars through to four-star level.
5. The Australian is not short of awards and accolades — between 2005 and 2010 he was named the New South Wales Eventing Rider of the Year on four occasions and he won the 2005 Australian Eventer Rider of the Year award. In 2008 he won the Anna Savage Medal, which is awarded to Australia’s ‘best and fairest event rider’.
6. Chris remembers winning Adelaide CCI4* on Newsprint in 2009 as a big turning point — it was his first major three-day win. He went on to win the title again in 2013 with TS Jamaimo, becoming the first competitor to win a four-star event on a catch ride horse making its debut at that level (the horse was usually ridden by the injured Will Enzinger).
7. In 2011 Chris decided to move to the UK in preparation for the London Olympics, where he was initially based with Sam and Lucy Griffiths in Dorset. In Greenwich he finished 16th individually with Holstein Park Leilani and sixth as part of the Australian team.
8. His favourite place to compete is Aachen (pictured, above) — for its great hospitality and the ability to watch the dressage, jumping and driving competitions while you are there.
9. In 2014 Chris was selected to represent Australia at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy with TS Jamaimo — but unfortunately had to withdraw when the horse developed a fever, following a bout of colic.
10. Chris made history in 2015 when he set the world record for the lowest finishing score at a three-day event. At the CCI2* in Camphire, he finished on his dressage score of 24.5 with Santano II.
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11. At the Rio Olympics last month, Chris took the team bronze medal aboard Santano II and finished fifth individually — having been in gold medal position after the cross-country.
12. Chris might now be a Burghley winner… but his competition career hasn’t been all plain sailing. “I once went into the main ring thinking I was being sent into the warm up ring. It was not until I saw the judge’s cars that I realised there was no warm up ring and I was about to ride my test,” he remembers.