Burghley champion claims his third title – with a second win for an outstanding horse

  • Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class topped the leaderboard in the 2023 Defender Burghley Horse Trials result this afternoon (3 September).

    Karyn Shuter, Angela Hislop and Val Ryan’s gelding, who won here with Oliver  as a 10-year-old in 2017, was second going into the final phase. They jumped clear until the final fence fell, but when overnight leaders Tim Price and Vitali picked up 12 faults, the victory was handed to Oliver and “Thomas”.

    “I’m incredibly proud of this horse,” said Oliver of his Burghley Horse Trials result. “Of course, he has won here before and we had a good run after that, then last year we had a dry spell and thank God we’ve got it back.”

    Speaking of his showjumping round with Ballaghmor Class, Oliver said he was a touch surprised as he came to the final fence.

    “I couldn’t believe I was clear to that point. The horse didn’t touch a fence outside and I hoped maybe this was our day.”

    Oliver was keen to credit those behind-the-scenes for this impressive result.

    “Thank you to the team at home who have known these horses since they were four years old. It’s down to their incredible management and the time they spend on my horses that these results keep coming.”

    When asked where this Burghley ranks with Oliver’s previous two, with the first coming in 2009 aboard Carousel Quest, Oliver said they become “more special” as time passes.

    “Every Burghley win is nearer to the end for me, so they become more special. I won my first one without really even knowing it. This is the greatest event in the world and if anyone wants to know what eventing is about, this is it.”

    David Doel took second, finishing on his dressage score aboard Galileo Nieuwmoed, while Harry Meade was third with five-star debutante Cavalier Crystal.

    Tim Price, who set a Burghley dressage record and was the cross-country leader with Vitali, finished fourth, Wills Oakden fifth with Oughterard Cooley, Pippa Funnell finished sixth with Majas Hope and Alice Casburn was seventh with Topspin.

    The top 10 was rounded out with Wills Oakden in eighth with Arklow Puissance, and Boyd Martin in ninth and 10th with Tsetserleg TSF and On Cue respectively.

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