Heartbreak for Tom McEwen on Burghley Horse Trials cross-country day

  • There was heartbreak for Tom McEwen when he pulled up his wonderful campaigner Toledo De Kerser on the 2023 Defender Burghley Horse Trials cross-country today (2 September).

    They jumped clear over the first 11 fences, but Tom brought their round to an end when he retired from the competition before jumping fence 12, as the horse looked unsound. They were in fourth after the first phase.

    Boyd Martin’s round aboard Tsetserleg TSF wasn’t without drama. The US rider jumped clear but was temporarily stopped on course before jumping through the Boodles Raindance at fence 24/25ab.

    “They thought they saw speck of blood on him so the vets and technical delegate had a look,” explained Boyd. “Then they told me to turn around and jump one of the biggest fences on the course from a standstill! In a way it was frustrating, but the welfare of the horse is important and I love this horse so much, I’d be the first to pull him up if he was injured.”

    Boyd came home with 9.6 time-faults, which means Tsetserleg TSF maintains his overnight sixth place at this stage of Burghley Horse Trials cross-country day.

    Wills Oakden has had a day to remember, clocking one of the fastest times of the day on his first ride, Oughterard Cooley, and then followed it up with another classy clear with Arklow Puissance, just picking up 4.4 time-faults, which puts them into eighth at the moment.

    “I knew I had two good jumping horses, but never expected to have two in the top 10,” said Wills. “Arklow Puissance is less experienced and so I wanted to get him into the round. He really grew into himself and I could start using him and he skipped up the hill at Winners’ Avenue.”

    Tom Crisp and Liberty And Glory picked up 10.8 time-faults but notched a valuable jumping clear to rise from 26th after the dressage to 12th at this stage. The mare, owned by her breeders Robin and Patricia Balfour, and Tom’s wife Sophie, looked so game throughout her round and Tom gave her a super ride.

    “Our last five-star run ended up with us arse first in The Lake,” joked Tom, referring to his fall at Badminton this spring. “I wanted to be quicker today as it would have been a real opportunity for us, but you’ve got to ride what you’ve got. She lost a shoe and went a little unbalanced, but she is amazing. For a little horse I look at the fences and think ‘can she jump these?’ But wow, she can.”

    Grace Taylor, who was seventh after dressage aboard her mother Ann Taylor’s Game Changer, jumped a clear round but the gelding looked to tire towards the end of the course and picked up 17.6 time-faults, dropping them to 14th at this stage of Burghley Horse Trials cross-country day.

    End of day update: Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg TSF finished the day in seventh, Wills Oakden and Arklow Puissance are currently in 10th, and Tom Crisp and Liberty And Glory are in 14th. Grace Taylor and Game Changer are now in 16th.

    You might also be interested in

    Horse & Hound has a team of reporters covering all the Burghley action. To keep reading on our website after five articles, readers will need to buy a subscription. Visit horseandhound.co.uk/join to buy a Horse & Hound website unlimited subscription or, for great value, visit magazinesdirect.com for a combined magazine and website subscription. If you are already a magazine subscriber, the cost to upgrade your subscription to include full website access is minimal – call 0330 333 1113 to find out more.

    You may like...