World no.1 Tim Price has two horses in the top eight at the end of the first day of dressage at the prestigious Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in the UK, with his defending champ still to come.
Tim and Bango were the first combination to go in the 67-strong field, scoring 29.6 penalty points – a score that led for two thirds of the day until it was surpassed by Eliza Stoddart (GBR) aboard Priorspark Opposition Free who now leads on 28.7. Tim also sits in eighth on Xavier Faer on a score of 31.5.
“I am really pleased with the two horses today,” he said. “Bango excelled all expectation or what I had become accustomed to – he has always had the quality there but to produce it in the ring has not always been that easy. He was really nice today. Xavier Faer was also very good today – a step in the right direction but just a little disappointed with myself. I am excited to have those two in fairly good positions going forward.”
Tim has had a look at the Captain Mark Phillips-designed cross country course which he says is “pretty punchy up front” and one he is looking forward to.
“They (Bango and Xavier Faer) are both horses who excel at their cross country job and jumping in general, so with the flat work you want to do as best as they can and not get affected by the atmosphere and not make any silly mistakes as a rider – I was really pleased we were able to cover off most of those things,” says Tim.
Tonight he will compete in the dressage aboard Ringwood Sky Boy who he calls “my old stalwart and one of my best mates”. “I have been here many times with him. I do enjoy him – we know each other inside and out. He is quite a fun one still to do . . . with him I can just let it happen a bit more so that is fun.”
Ringwood Sky Boy is also the defending champion of the Burghley crown.
The only other New Zealander in action overnight was former Burghley winner Caroline Powell aboard On the Brash who sit in =19th on a score of 37.1 penalty points. “It wouldn’t be his best performance but it is very atmospheric in there and as the test went on he got tighter and tighter. I have only been riding him two years. He has taken quite a lot to get to this stage. He is quite a late developer but he is a lovely horse. A lovely honest horse who is scared of his own shadow, so anything that goes wrong upsets him a wee bit. He is doing well.”
The remaining 33 combinations will complete their dressage overnight, followed by the cross country on Saturday (UK time). Still to come for New Zealand are debutant Samantha Lissington aboard Ricker Ridge Rui, Dan Jocelyn on Blackthorn Cruise and Jonelle Price on Faerie Dianimo. Ginny Thompson and Star Nouveau were a late withdrawal from the event.
WATCH ALL THE ACTION
Dressage – Click here for Burghley Live Stream
Cross Country – Sky Sport 3 Saturday from 10.00pm
Showjumping – Sky Sport 9 Monday from 1.30am
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 – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ