World number 1. Oliver Townend and, 2017 Burghley CCI4* winner, Ballaghmor Class deliver a class performance to secure top sport at Burgham International Horse Trials, in the Newton Hall CIC3*.
The reigning 4* winne,r who fell foul of the Aachen CHIO water a fortnight ago, held fifth after dressage with a score of 27.8, but rose up the order with a perfect clear round in the showjumping and an effortlessly and fast cross-country performance for just 1.2 time-faults.
“That showjumping round was possibly the best I have ever done at an event,” said Oliver. “He needed a run to sharpen him up a bit, and the ground was so good that we were able to exactly what was needed. This was the perfect preparation for whatever the autumn brings.”
Eleven-year-old Ballaghmor Class is on the short-list for Britain’s team for the World Equestrian Games, and is also entered for Burghley again.
Oliver also won the Howard Russell Construction Ltd CIC2* with Stephen and Victoria Hazeldine and the Mitchell Fox Group’s Treglider, finishing on his 25.7 dressage mark.
“I’ve had him since he was a four-year-old and we liked him a lot from the word go,” said Oliver. “He’s lovely to work with and is very athletic.”
The dressage leaders Nicola Wilson and One Two Many took second place in the Newton Hall CIC3*, having collected a handful of time-penalties in both the showjumping and the cross-country. And Northumberland-based Ben Hobday was third on Ciletto H.
“I say ‘jump’ and Ciletto H says ‘how high?’” said Ben, for whom this was his best result of the season so far. “He digs deep for me all the time and allows me to ride him fast.”
Izzy Taylor dropped from first place to second in the CIC2* with Kilderrys Cougar Girl after adding four penalties for one showjump down to her dressage score of 23.7.
In the Metnor Group CIC*, dressage leaders Piggy French and her fiancé Tom March’s six-year-old Emerald Jonny led from start to finish, adding just 0.4 of a cross-country time-fault to a stunningly good dressage score of 17.9. The 18.3 finishing score gives them a record breaking finish at Burgham and also the best international finishing score of the 2018 season.
Emerald Jonny’s owner Tom March said: “I thought watching his dressage test that it would get a good mark, but that score was something very special. He’s enthusiastic and keen to get on with his job, in a good way – he likes to learn.”
“It’s been a fantastic event – we had outstanding entries and, having worked very hard on the footing for the horses in preparation, the rain was able to get into the ground and it meant that the going was perfect and everybody was able to run as competitively as they wished,” said Event Director Martyn Johnson. “We are very grateful to our sponsors, our landowners and everybody who has put so much into making Burgham such a special event.”