World no.1 Tim Price spearheads a slim Kiwi offering at the Defender Burghley Horse Trials this week. Tim lines up aboard the 13-year-old Holsteiner Vitali on whom he placed third at Burghley in 2022 and he’s ready to go better on that result. “I am looking forward to Burghley,” says Tim. “It’s always a fun event and is a proper good old-fashioned 5*. Vitali is in good form and I am looking forward to having him there for three good phases. He is a very capable horse now and has a good couple of 5* under his belt.”

The horse had gone “nicely” around Burghley last year and Tim is confident of a better showing. Vitali has previously placed sixth and 10th at Luhmuhlen (2021 and 2022) and was Tim’s mount for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Lauren Innes and her 13-year-old Global Fision M are the only other Kiwis in the field and are on debut at Burghley. They have two Badminton completions to their names but Burghley has long been on Lauren’s radar for the horse. “Ever since he was a young horse I have thought he was a Burghley horse because he gallops relentlessly and loves to jump big fences,” she said. “Our preparation has overall well gone well. He is extremely fit and feels great.” The combination had a “minor hiccup” at Arville but Lauren says it has sharpened them both up. “The course at Burghley will suit us much more and I am so looking forward to getting out there.”

Burghley is an event steeped in history and with a strong Kiwi connection. It was first contested in 1961 and since then both Sir Mark Todd and Andrew Nicholson have hoisted the trophy five times apiece.

Both Sir Mark and Andrew are involved again this year, albeit in a slightly different way. Sir Mark is on the Burghley commentary team while Andrew is joining the judging panel for the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse final.

Andrew has completed Burghley Horse Trials more times than any other rider – a staggering 36 times, notching five wins, five seconds and six thirds. Andrew and Avebury made history across the board, becoming the only rider, horse and rider/horse combination to have won the Burghley title three consecutive years with their 2012, 2013 and 2014 run.

Tim Price was the latest Kiwi to triumph at Burghley with his win in 2018 aboard Ringwood Sky Boy. Also claiming wins are Blyth Tait, who won twice, and Caroline Powell.

These days more than 173,000 spectators will attend over the four days. It is one of just seven 5* events in the world and this carries the richest prize money with £110,000 for the winner. Derek di Grazia is designing the much anticipated cross country course for just the second year.

It is a star-stacked field with most of the top 10 ranked riders competing alongside many other big names. The dressage will run over Thursday and Friday, with the cross country Saturday and showjumping on Sunday.

New Zealand is also represented in the 2023 Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse finals on Friday, with Muzi Pottinger in the four-year-old final on Midnight Shadow and also lining up in the five-year-old final with May B It’s Maisie alongside Samantha Lissington aboard Nadal, Never Know MB and Vision Impossible.


The horse details;
Vitali (by Contender out of Noble Lady I who is by Heraldic XX) – owned by Joe and Alex Giannamore and Tim Price
Global Fision M (by Flipper D’elle HN out of Kantussa who is by Cantus) – owned by the Innes Family Syndicate
Never Know MB – owned by Sally Taylor
May B It’s Maisie  – owned by Lucie Stokes and Muzi Pottinger
Vision Impossible  – owned by Joe and Alex Giannamore
Midnight Shadow  – owned by Evan Davies and Muzi Pottinger

By Diana Dobson, ESNZ high performance media liaison