New Zealand’s highest-ranked eventer Tim Price has his sights set on claiming the crown at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. Last year, the WEG-bound rider was the best of the Kiwis with his fifth place effort aboard Ringwood Sky Boy and has been top five for the past three years.
This year he’s picking the 15-year-old bay as the favoured of his two mounts purely on his experience at top level. “Both Ringwood Sky Boy and Bango are in really good form coming into this event this time,” says Tim. “Both are fantastic with a lot of talent and ability and I am slowly learning how to get the best out of them in all three phases. The endeavour is to produce solid performances . . . and be first and second.”
There are 10 Kiwi combinations lining up to do battle against the very best at the CCI4* event – one of just six 4* in the world. The timing is a little tricky, just a week out from when the New Zealand eventing team flies to the United States to compete at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games but Tim says it is the nature of their jobs.
“I feel going and having a couple of good runs at Burghley will only set me up further for WEG,” he says. “It has plenty of solid combinations at Burghley this year, so no lack of competition . . . and may the best man win at the end of the day.”
Five-time Burghley winner Sir Mark Todd has two on the card in 16-year-old NZB Campino who is so solid at 4* level with top 10 finishes at all of the Northern Hemisphere 4* events; and 11-year-old Kiltubrid Rhapsody who was sixth this year at Badminton in his first 4* start.
The history-making Andrew Nicholson has 12-year-old Teseo, 11-year-old Jet Set and 10-year-old Swallow Springs entered – all three are green at this top level but the same can’t be said for the rider who was eighth last year with Nereo. Andrew has also won the Burghley crown five times and with 34 completions to his name holds the record for the most finishes with 15 podium finishes – five apiece for first, second and third. Aboard Avebury he made more history as the only combination to have won Burghley three consecutive years.
Former Burghley victor Caroline Powell is entered aboard her 12-year-old On the Brash, who has a 4* completion to his credit. Dan Jocelyn is in on his 12-year-old Dassett Cool Touch who will be looking to improve on their 13th place efforts in 2016. Ginny Thompson and 14-year-old Star Nouveau are on début at Burghley and are looking forward to it with relish.
Entries have come from across the globe for this year’s Burghley including six previous winners all vying for a slice of the £300,000 prize purse, with £95,000 to the winner.
In the build-up to the 2018 event, organisers reminisced about the Burghley winners over the decades, including Blyth Tait’s 1998 victory aboard Chesterfield. “Blyth’s campaign got off to a stormy start when he publicly complained about his dressage mark of 55 but, as the torrential rain came, dressage scores proved largely irrelevant (Andrew Nicholson, who finished third on Hinnegar, had been virtually last after dressage). Only 23 horses completed the competition and Blyth, whose victory was part of a purple patch, coming after a British Open victory at Gatcombe and before (a) second world title in Pratoni del Vivaro the following month, scored an easy one-two on his two New Zealand thoroughbreds Chesterfield and Aspyring.” Blyth also won Burghley in 2001 aboard Ready Teddy.
Every year Burghley attracts more than 160,000 visitors over the four days. The event was moved there in 1961 after another event was cancelled and the marquess of Exeter, a keen equestrian, invited the British Horse Society to transfer the event to his estate. In its second year, Burghley ran the FEI’s European Championship and so began a tradition and standing that has become one of the most prestigious in the world.
Captain Mark Phillips CVO has been the Burghley cross country course designer since 2005. A previous winner, this year he is promising “a real championship course”.
“Riders will need to take care of their horses and ride by the seat of their pants as there is so much new this time,” he says. “The winner will be a Burghley champion in the truest sense.”
HOW TO WATCH BURGHLEY
New Zealand viewers will be able to access the livestream via the Burghley Facebook page on the following days:
Thursday 30 August
Dressage Day One
Thursday 30 August
Dressage Day Two
Friday 31 August
LIVE and Replay coverage will also be available on Sky Sport in NZ:
Saturday 1 September
Sky Sport 7
Cross Country – Replay
Sunday 2 September
Sky Sport 6
Showjumping – LIVE
Monday 3 September
Sky Sport 1
Showjumping – Replay
Monday 3 September
Sky Sport 3
The horse details:
Star Nouveau – owned by Elaine Butterworth, Anthony Quirk and Ginny Thompson
Teseo – owned by Philip Channer and Andrew Nicholson
Jet Set – owned by Libby Sellar
Swallow Springs – owned by Paul and Diana Ridgeon
NZB Campino – owned by New Zealand Bloodstock and Sir Mark Todd
Kiltubrid Rhapsody – owned by Niki Ryan and Dr Elizabeth Donald
Ringwood Sky Boy – owned by Verenna Allen and Tim Price
Bango – owned by The Numero Uno Syndicate
On the Brash – owned by Sarah Tobey and Sue Smiley
Dassett Cool Touch – owned by Therese Miller and Dan Jocelyn
WHAT: Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials
WHEN: August 30-September 2, 2018
WHERE: Burghley House, Stamford, Lincolnshire
MORE INFO: www.burghley-horse.co.uk
LIVESTREAMING: Burghley Facebook and Sky Sport
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison