World no.1 Tim Price headlines a star-stacked field for the 2019 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in the UK this week, with three horses entered in the prestigious CCI5*-L class.
“I can’t quite believe that I am taking three to Burghley,” says the 40-year-old. “I have watched those guys do that in the past and thought they are a little bit mad and now I am doing it myself, but you can’t hold a good, fit and ready Burghley horse down.”
Tim has entered the 2018 Burghley champ Ringwood Sky Boy, alongside 13-year-old British-bred Xavier Faer and 13-year-old Irish sport horse Bango, but he’s picking his 16-year-old bay gelding Ringwood Sky Boy as the one to beat. The Irish sport horse went to the Rio Olympic Games with him in 2016, was second at Burghley (2015), fourth at both Luhmuhlen (2016) and Burghley (2016), fifth at Burghley (2017) and twice top 10 at Badminton.
Xavier Faer has been third at both Kentucky (2019) and Badminton (2017) while Bango has also completed numerous 5* events.
“My three guys are all feeling really good,” says Tim. “They are very much suited to this competition, so I am very excited about getting them there and having a good week. All the preparation has gone good and they are feeling great.”
He was looking forward to getting them settled at the event. “Then we want the weather gods to be on our side so we don’t have anything too crazy to happen in that department. I am definitely looking forward to it.”
Jonelle Price, who last year won Badminton, will compete aboard her 14-year-old Brit-bred grey mare Faerie Dianimo. The horse won Luhmuhlen in 2018, was second in 2015, has finished top 10 at Pau and also represented New Zealand at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Former Burghley winner, 46-year-old Caroline Powell has entered her 13-year-old gelding On the Brash while 28-year-old Ginny Thompson is in aboard her 14-year-old mare Star Nouveau who was very impressive in the Badminton cross country this year and previously finished in the top 10 at the Adelaide 5*.
It will be the first 5* start for 49-year-old Dan Jocelyn’s Irish sport horse Blackthorn Cruise while Samantha Lissington is on debut with her 10-year-old Ricker Ridge Rui.
New Zealand has an impressive history at Burghley, laying claim to 14 titles, including a five-year stretch between 1997 and 2001. Andrew Nicholson has completed Burghley more times than any other rider with a staggering 35 completions, including five wins, five seconds and six thirds. He and Avebury made history as the only combination to have won the title for three consecutive years (2012, 2013, 2014). Sir Mark Todd has also won five Burghley titles, with Blyth Tait claiming two. William Fox-Pitt (GBR) is the most successful rider with six crowns to his credit.
Last year there were three Kiwis in the top 10 with Tim winning aboard Ringwood Sky Boy, Andrew third on Swallow Springs and Tim 10th on Bango.
There are 78 combinations from across the globe chasing a prize purse of £300,000. Included in the line-up are previous winners Chris Burton (AUS) and Pippa Funnell (GBR).
The first horse inspection is on Wednesday (September 4 – UK time) followed by two days of dressage, the Captain Mark Phillips-designed cross country on Saturday and showjumping on Sunday. Over the four days of competition, organisers expect around 167,000 people to flow through the gates of the historic grounds.
WHAT: Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials
WHERE: Lincolnshire, UK
WHEN: September 5-8, 2019
MORE INFO & How to watch: www.burghley-horse.co.uk
The horse details:
Ringwood Sky Boy – owned by Varenna Allen, Robert Taylor and Tim Price
Bango – owned by the Numero Uno Syndicate
Xavier Faer – owned by Trisha Rickards, Nigella Hall and Tim Price
Blackthorn Cruise – owned by Panda Christie and Dan Jocelyn
Faerie Dianimo – owned by Trisha Rickards, Jacky Green and Jonelle Price
On the Brash – owned by Sarah Tobey and Sue Smiley
Ricker Ridge Rui – owned by Christine Quigley and Samantha Lissington
Star Nouveau – owned by Elaine Butterworth, Anthony Quirk and Virginia Thompson
By Diana Dobson
Photo by Libby Law/ESNZ