TOWNEND IN DRIVING SEAT AT THE LAND ROVER BURGHLEY HORSE TRIALS
Oliver Townend retained his lead at The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in the most stylish fashion on the elegant grey Carousel Quest and now has a jumping fence in hand to score a rare double, following his Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials victory in May, and take a commanding lead in the HSBC FEI Classics™, of which this is the fourth leg.
Townend, who will be a key member of the British team at this month’s HSBC FEI European Eventing Championship, has indicated that he still has horses to spare for the climax at Les Etoiles de Pau (FRA) next month.
British-based Australian Sam Griffiths showed that his Badminton 3rd on the German-bred Happy Times was no fluke, producing a masterful Cross-Country round, one of only 5 inside the optimum time of 10min 34sec over Captain Mark Phillips’s accuracy-testing track.
In an international line-up, Griffiths is in 2nd place, ahead of New Zealand Olympian Caroline Powell on the experienced Lenamore, whose athletic style was ideally suited to Captain Phillips’s shorter, more intensive course.
The price of one Jumping fence now covers 2nd to 6th place. Phillip Dutton is still in 4th place on the American Thoroughbred Truluck after accruing 5.2 time penalties, the same amount as Powell.
World and Olympic silver medallist Clayton Fredericks rode determinedly on Poilu to stay on his Dressage score of 51.7 and has risen 24 places to 5th, ahead of former Burghley runner-up Polly Stockton (GBR) on the inexperienced Westwood Poser, a last-minute entrant after her intended ride Regulus had to have a colic operation.
Fence 6, the Discovery Valley, was easily the most influential. It involved a jump over a chest on to a downhill slope to a ditch and a right-handed turn to an acutely angled brush. Defending champion William Fox-Pitt (GBR) was an early casualty here, on first ride Macchiato, and this fence also ended the chances of Olympic bronze medallists Daisy Dick (GBR) and Springalong, plus Matt Ryan (AUS) and Bonza Puzzle, 9th after Dressage, and Allison Springer (USA) and Arthur, 7th.
The double of corners, situated on undulating ground, at fence 16, the Land Rover Dairy Farm, caused much discussion, as the second one was situated on the edge of sloping ground, but it jumped better than expected. However, it captured distinguished scalps in Dressage runner-up Andrew Nicholson, who parted company with Nereo, and Karen O’Connor (USA) who fell from Mandiba.
J-P Sheffield, 5th after Dressage, disappeared even earlier, with a fall at fence 4, the precipitous drop at the Leaf Pit. Kitty Boggis, equal 10th, was unseated at the main arena complex, when Boondoggle left a leg at the second of two narrow brushes.
The other riders to achieve the optimum time were one-horse rider Rosie Thomas (GBR) on Barry’s Best, who achieved the same feat last year, and is up from 50th to 11th; Andrew Nicholson (NZL), up from 69th to 18th on Armada; and Francis Whittington (GBR), 22nd on Sir Percival lll despite a refusal at the Cascades (fence 21).
Time proved extremely influential, and Anna Warnecke (GER) on Twinkle Bee has risen 32 places to 8th with just 0.8 penalties, and Mary King (GBR), who was held on course for fence repair, has gone up 36 places to 10th on Apache Sauce with 0.4.
77 horses started Cross-Country
13 were eliminated (8 rider falls, 1 horse fall, 4 accumulated refusals)
5 inside the time of 10min 34 sec
36 clear rounds
Fence 6 caused 28 horses to fault
Technical Delegate was Guiseppe della Chiesa (ITA)
Oliver Townend, 1st: “Carousel Quest is a class horse. He sometimes tries too hard and jumps too big at times, but he’s 14 years old and I’m not going to change that now. I spent most of the day asleep in the lorry, but every time I woke up, someone seemed to be having a run-out at fence 6. Thanks to my friends, especially J-P, I took a wider line, which I hadn’t walked. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked.”
Sam Griffiths, 2nd; “I was a bit wild into Trout Hatchery (fence 8) but Happy Times is still a bit green. My watch stopped at 3 minutes but I didn’t notice at first, so I had to put my head down. It was just as thrilling as my Badminton ride, but a lot tougher with the undulations.”
Caroline Powell, 3rd: “Lenamore is 16 now and so he’s getting slower but more reliable. The shorter course was a bonus for him because he’s nippy, but it affected the longer-striding horses.”
Phillip Dutton, 4th: “If I had my time again, I’d have started out slower. Truluck started to feel tired by fence 16, but then his last proper run was at the Pan-Ams in 2007 and Burghley is probably the toughest course in the world. He’s a classy horse with a good brain and fun to ride.”
Zara Phillips, 19th: “Glenbuck will really come on for this – he was still galloping well at the end, which was much better than last time. But we discovered that he had a respiratory infection and, after rest, he’s come back very well and I’m pleased with him.”
1 Oliver Townend/Carousel Quest (GBR) 39.8 + 3.2 = 43
2 Sam Griffiths/Happy times (AUS) 48.3 + 0 = 48.3
3 Caroline Powell/Lenamore (NZL) 45.2 + 5.2 = 50.4
4 Phillip Dutton/Truluck (USA) 45.3 + 5.2 = 50.5
5 Clayton Fredericks/Poilu (AUS) 51.7 + 0 = 51.7
6 Polly Stockton/Westwood Poser (GBR) 48.5
7 William Fox-Pitt/Seacookie (GBR) 47.5
8 Anna Warnecke/Twinkle Bee (GER) 57.5 + 0.8 = 58.3
9 Paul Tapner/Inonothing (AUS) 51.5 + 6.8 = 58.3
10 Mary King/Apache Sauce (GBR) 58.3 + 0.4 = 58.7