‘It’s big, it’s bold, it’s Burghley’: riders react to the 2019 cross-country course

“You know you are at Burghley,” was the resounding message from competitors on their first impressions of the CCI5*-L track.

Captain Mark Phillips’ track features 27 testing questions over four miles of parkland.

Watch riders talk through their initial thoughts of the course: please wait for video below to load

“It’s a tough track, big and bold and technical,” says defending Burghley champion Tim, adding he things it will affect his three rides in different ways.

“I think once you get up to Winners Avenue, round the corner, through the Dairy Mound and down the hill then you are hopefully just ticking boxes. I don’t say that in a casual sense, but you are coming home and trying to jump out of a rhythm. The course is front heavy, big and demanding.”

Sarah Bullimore, who is lying second after dressage with Reve Du Rouet, agrees.

“We know we are at Burghley,” she says. “It is big, it’s bold and there’s a lot of fences to jump. The first part of the course is heavy with questions. We have to negotiate all the questions and be quick.

“The terrain plays a big part as well — it has a massive influence not just on the fences, but also on the time. The going is fantastic and Mark Phillips has done a brilliant job on the course. It looks great out there.”

Overnight leader Eliza Stoddart (Priorspark Opposition Free) told the press conference that she walked the course with Chris Bartle, Piggy French and Pippa Funnell.

“It was brilliant to have a rider’s perspective as well as a trainer’s perspective,” she says.

“Obviously having not ridden here before I won’t know what the horse is meant to feel like at certain stages of the course.

“So to have Piggy and Pippa backing me up and saying ‘actually at this point he might feel like this’ and ‘don’t be worried if he does this’ and ‘you have to take the options that are correct for your horse at this stage in his and your career’. Then on the other hand I have Chris saying to me ‘Eliza, you’re not here for experience, you are here to do well!’ It made me say to myself ‘right, I have to take really good options, be confident and do my best’.

“I’m totally respectful of the course. I know it’s Burghley. Mark Phillips has created a very challenging question for all of us riders and I’ll be watching the first few riders to get as much information as I can, but at the end of the day, I’ll just try and do my best.”

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