Reigning Burghley champion out of contention and major contender withdrawn

  • The 2016 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials champion will not be attempting to defend his title, as he has been withdrawn from this year’s event (31 August – 3 September).

    Nobilis 18, ridden by Australian eventer Chris Burton, has only been seen competing twice since his four-star victory last autumn. The first was at Farley Hall Horse Trials in Berkshire in June, where he jumped a slow double clear in the open intermediate. The second event was in the CICO3* at Aachen, where 12-year-old Nobilis, owned by Sue Lawson, and Chris jumped a speedy double clear for eventual sixth.

    Chris, who was on the bronze medal-winning Australian team at the Rio Olympics and finished fifth individually, led last year’s Burghley throughout but cut it fine, needing all the four fences he had in hand in the showjumping phase to finish on 49.4 penalties.

    After his victory, he said: “On Wednesday I walked up Winners’ Avenue and saw all those old boys’ names and thought how amazing it would be to have your name on a plaque one day.”

    Chris was unavailable to comment on the gelding’s withdrawal.

    Another high profile contender to be withdrawn today (23 August) is Qalao Des Mers, the ride of French rider Maxime Livio.

    The 13-year-old Selle Francais, owned by Didier and Pascale Livio, would have been a real top 10 contender for the Burghley title on the back of his recent four-star form.

    Notable results include second at Rolex Kentucky this spring, a win in the four-star at Pau last October and second in the four-star at Luhmühlen in June 2016.

    Who else is in the mix?

    These withdrawals mean there are 73 remaining combinations entered for Burghley, including 2015 winner Michael Jung with La Biosthetique – Sam FBW.

    Other notable entries include Andrew Nicholson, whose possible rides include this year’s Badminton winner, Nereo, Teseo and Qwanza, although one horse will be withdrawn before the event.

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    European team gold medallist Tina Cook has Star Witness and Calvino entered, while her team-mate Oliver Townend has Samuel Thomas II, Ballaghmor Class and Cooley SRS. It is suspected the latter horse will be withdrawn as he competed at the European Championships last week.

    Don’t miss H&H’s Burghley preview issues — course walk with Mary King and interview with event director Liz Inman in this week’s issue (24 August) and 16-page pull-out with form guide for every entry in the following issue (31 August).

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