It was a day of mixed fortunes for the Kiwis, but at the end of a big and very challenging cross country course at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, Tim Price is at the top of the leaderboard.
Tim and Ringwood Sky Boy looked cool, calm and collected throughout the Captain Mark Phillips-designed course drawing plenty of praise from all. The combination made it look so easy, coming home just outside of the time allowed to add 0.4 penalty points to their tally and finish the day on 27.3.
“I am so pleased with him,” said Tim. “He just ate it up. He showed all his class and experience. I am pretty elated. It was as near to a foot perfect round as far as riding a plan that I think I have had around a 4*. It comes down to a horse that I know very well and vice versa, and perfect conditions. It was just a nice day at the office and they come around every so often – I will take it.”
With less than a rail across the top four, there will be plenty of pressure at tomorrow’s showjumping. “He’s not the world’s best showjumper,” said Tim of Ringwood Sky Boy, “but he is the world’s greatest trier. I think both my horses have come into this competition as good as you could have hoped . . . and we hope for good day tomorrow.”
Right behind Tim and Ringwood Sky Boy is defending champ Oliver Townend (GBR) aboard Ballaghmor Class on 27.9 with Piggy French (GBR) aboard Vanir Kamira and Harry Meade (GBR) on Away Cruising both on 31.1.
Five time Burghley champ Andrew Nicholson fills fifth spot with Swallow Springs – they were one of just four combinations to come home clear and inside time – on 32.1. Andrew is also in eighth aboard Jet Set IV on 36.2 after adding just 2.4 time penalties and bounding up 21 slots on the leaderboard.
Tim Price and Bango are in 17th with Sir Mark Todd and NZB Campino in 19th. Dan Jocelyn and Dassett Cool Touch added 11 to sit in 32nd place and Caroline Powell and On the Brash are in 36th. Debutante Ginny Thompson and Star Nouveau were unlucky to pick up 20 but finished the day in 40th. Overnight leader Mark and Kiltubrid Rhapsody parted company at fence 10 to be eliminated, but walked back to the stables.
Andrew Nicholson was pleased with Swallow Springs – a horse many are pegging as his next star. “He’s young but very classy and always a bit cheeky, so it is up to me to ride him properly,” said Andrew. “He’s a bit like (hat-trick Burghley winner) Avebury too – you’ve got to ride him like you stole him.”
Sir Mark Todd was happy with NZB Campino’s efforts. They did have a slight hiccup at The Maltings where he went to turn left but lost his left rein, forcing him to go the long way and adding around 15 seconds to their time. “It is tough out there,” he said. “The hills certainly have their affect on the horses.”
Equestrian Sports New Zealand eventing high performance manager Graeme Thom praised the Kiwi riders and those behind them. “I think for sure the good outweighed the bad today. Some unfortunate stuff happened but Tim did a fantastic job on his two, Mark did spectacularly on a horse who has had only two clears at intermediate level this year, and Ginny did a really terrific job on her first time at Burghley – hats off to her.”
He felt Tim’s ride on Ringwood Sky Boy had been picture perfect and he extended huge congratulations to the rider, his team and owners. “It is beyond exciting for them all.”
Graeme said the going had been excellent at Burghley and Captain Mark Phillips had designed a “big but fair” full 4* course. “You just had to have a horse who was bold, very fit and willing to jump the jumps – a horse with both heart and speed.”
Just 45 combinations completed the cross country today – 10 others were eliminated with a further 13 retiring on course. The four clear and inside time rounds came from Oliver Townend (GBR) aboard Ballaghmore Class, Andrew aboard Swallow Springs, Elizabeth Power (IRL) on Soladoun and Kristina Cool (GBR) on Star Witness.
HOW TO WATCH BURGHLEY
LIVE and Replay coverage will also be available on Sky Sport in NZ:
Showjumping – LIVE
Monday 3rd September
Sky Sport 1
Showjumping – Replay
Monday 3rd 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
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ