Chris Burton proved unstoppable in the CCI4*-S for eight- and nine-year-olds at the SsangYong Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials today (22 September). He stopped the clock bang on the 6min 44sec optimum time in the final cross-country phase to win by almost seven penalties with Clever Louis (pictured top). Impressively Blenheim was this combination’s first event together too.
“We’re very excited about him,” said the Australian rider of the Dr Geoffrey and Kate Guy—owned nine-year-old, who finished on his 29.7 dressage. “He has a lot of thoroughbred blood and is very honest across country — he actually sped up towards the end, which is pretty unique.”
Tom McEwen was second on Barbara Cooper’s eight-year-old, Dreamaway II. They added 5.6 cross-country time-faults to their 31 dressage.
“He’s come on leaps and bounds and he has such a desire to crack on,” said Tom. “I wasn’t going as fast as I could but he’s got a big stride.”
Gemma Tattersall was the only other competitor to achieve the optimum time which meant she rose from 23rd after the showjumping into eventual third with Christopher Stone’s nine-year-old, Chilli Knight.
“He’s incredibly consistent — I call him the ‘yes man’ at home because he is the ultimate trier,” said Gemma. “We have such a partnership but he’s sadly for sale, so I would be delighted if someone wants to buy him for me so I can keep the ride.”
Find out how the final phase unfolded at Blenheim
Izzy Taylor was fourth with Artful Trinity, Italy’s Giovanni Ugolotti was fifth on Duke Of Champion and Japan’s Ryuzo Kitajima was sixth riding Feroza Nieuwmoed. The top 10 was completed by Caroline Harris (Falko TH, seventh), Oliver Townend (Dreamliner, eighth), Yasmin Ingham (Rehy DJ, ninth) and Aaron Millar (Friendship VDL, 10th).
For the full report from the SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials, don’t miss this week’s issue of Horse & Hound — out Thursday (26 September).