Defending Burghley champion to be 2018 pathfinder

  • World number one Oliver Townend will be the trailblazer at this year’s prestigious autumn four-star following the release of the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials drawn order yesterday (14 August).

    With no fewer than five horses entered – MHS King Joules, Ulises, Cooley Master Class, Cooley SRS and last year’s Burghley winner Ballaghmor Class – the defending Burghley champion is only permitted to ride three during the event, which runs from 30 August to 2 September.

    Cooley Master Class, Ballaghmor Class and Cooley SRS were all long-listed for the forthcoming World Equestrian Games, so while Oliver has not been named on the British team, there is a chance he could receive a late call up on one of his horses.

    Oliver famously spoke out about being drawn first to go at Badminton in 2016, when he said it was “beyond a joke” that he had been pathfinder so frequently in recent years. But since the Badminton draw has been made public, Oliver has not been first to go at the Gloucestershire four-star or Burghley until now.

    Last year’s pathfinder, Tina Cook, will be second out on course come cross-country day. She is entered on Star Witness, and Calvino II. Billy The Red has been selected for the WEG squad.

    Mark Todd will be third to go, while H&H blogger Simon Grieve will be sixth out riding Douglas.

    Andrew Nicholson has “double-entered” his trio of Swallow Springs, Jet Set IV and Teseo, which means he will only start on two. H&H’s first-time Burghley blogger Hazel Towers has been drawn as number 33.

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    Lissa Green will be hoping to start her first Burghley on Hollyfield II after she was withdrew Malin Head Clover before the first trot-up last year. She has been drawn as number 72.

    Other riders to look out for who are tipped for success, include Tim Price (11 and 96 with Bango and Ringwood Sky Boy, who is one of Tim’s reserve horses for WEG), last year’s runner-up Piggy French and Vanir Kamira (32), Nicola Wilson and Bulana (44), Pippa Funnell and Majas Hope (66) and Laura Collett with Mr Bass (90).

    For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

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