The New Zealand team rider and the 13-year-old Vitali, who is co-owned by Joseph Glannamore, achieved an incredible total of 18.7 from the three judges, Nick Burton at E, Christian Steiner at C and Anne-Mette Binder at M.
This was a personal best international dressage score for Tim, who last won Burghley in 2018 with Ringwood Sky Boy. The duo eclipsed the previous Burghley record of 20.1, which was set by Australian Chris Burton and Nobilis 18 in 2016.
Tim and Vitali were on the path to glory right out of the gate when they were awarded a 10 for their first halt from Nick Burton, who also scored them full marks for their harmony as a combination throughout the test.
The gelding continued with an effortless performance, staying relaxed throughout while showcasing plenty of expression in his elastic paces. They totalled 14 nines over the course of the test, including two nines for their final halt, extended walk and trot, and flying changes.
“I’m so elated as this horse has always shown so much potential in all three phases, but that doesn’t mean you always get it in the ring,” said Tim. “I’m a bit speechless to be honest. He’s a quirky little horse who can throw a curveball. Seven minutes before our test you wouldn’t recognise him; I was on the ground trying to sort something out on his bridle.
“He’s achieved some good scores previously, but I’ve always believed he had better in him, and he proved that today.”
Burghley is Vitali’s fourth five-star outing and Tim is confident in their partnership.
“I’m not here to muck about, and I feel very prepared [for Burghley],” he explained. “This year, we’ve only brought Vitali here — in some years I have ridden three horses over the week. While I always embrace bringing more horses, I’m very happy to be here with just him.”
Tim Price and Vitali shuffle everyone down the Burghley Horse Trials dressage leaderboard, putting Oliver Townend and Swallow Springs (24.2) into second, and Ros Canter and Pencos Crown Jewel (26.9) into third at this stage.
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