Posted: 6th September 2019 | Back to news feed

By Peter White, Sportsbeat – 020 3026 3780

MARKET HARBOROUGH’S Eliza Stoddart admitted to being overwhelmed at finishing day one of her first ever appearance at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in pole position.

Stoddart, 26, and horse Priorspark Opposition Free, topped the standings in the dressage after an entertaining first day of equine cross-country action at Burghley House, near Stamford.

Despite having completed several four-star events together previously, Burghley represents something of a step-up for the pair, with both making their debut at a five-star event.

And Stoddart – who grew up 20 minutes from the venue where she once joked with her friends about competing  – insists a score of 28.7 was beyond her wildest dreams.

She said: “To be in the lead at Burghley is totally mind-boggling – it was my childhood ambition just to perform here.

“He’s actually very strong in the dressage phases and I’m quite confident in it as well, so I was hoping to be in and around the top 15, but to come out on top is a wonderful moment.

“There was quite a bit of pressure with it being my first time here, but I’ve had so much support.

“When I finished everyone was cheering. Then I turned around and on the board were all 10s – that was totally thrilling.”

Elsewhere, Willoughby Waterleys’ Imogen Murray was frustrated with a 32nd place finish at the end of day one, believing horse Ivar Gooden had produced his best ever test performance.

“He can get hot and silly, but today he was really calm and I was pleased with him.

“It’s hard because we put a lot of time and effort into the preparations and I thought he’s done really well, but it’s onwards and upwards going into the weekend’s events.”

The world-renowned Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials is one of only six five-star events in the eventing calendar - and one third of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing.

It has become one of the most popular and highly regarded events within the equestrian and social calendars, ranking within the UK’s top ten national sporting occasions by attendance.

Two days of dressage are followed by cross-country on Saturday and the showjumping finale on Sunday at family-friendly Burghley, which attracts more than 160,000 visitors each year.

Ahead of the next phase of the competition, Stoddart admits she is focused on getting the best out of her gelding and making the most of her first experience competing at Burghley.

“I’m not expecting to be at the top of the ranks after Friday or Saturday,” she said. “It’s not going to be a dressage competition by any means. It’s great to have a good start, but I’m realistic.

“I just want to give my horse a good, confident round. I’ve had some time to walk around the course and I’m really looking forward to getting out there for the first time.”

By Andy Baber, Sportsbeat – 020 3026 3780

BEDFORDSHIRE rider Sarah Bullimore admitted she was feeling the pressure on her return to the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials following her impressive performance last year.

The 46-year-old and horse Reve Du Rouet are third at the halfway stage of the dressage after an entertaining first day of equine cross-country action at Burghley House, near Stamford.

And having finished fourth in 2018, Bullimore, who is based in Keysoe, North Bedfordshire, and her trusty 15-year-old Oldenburgh gelding appear primed to go one step better this year.

But despite a solid dressage showing, Bullimore felt like it was a missed opportunity after the combination were unable to improve on their previous opening day score.

“He was a really good boy because this wouldn’t be his best phase,” she said. “He’s very capable but he doesn’t always enjoy this phase and gets quite upset with the crowds.

“So he was a really good. He did go very quiet in there and holds himself a bit so he is a frustrating one because I was pleased to bits with him but there is more there that could come out.

“It could have been a 25 and hopefully it’s enough to give me a second top five finish in a row. it would have been lovely to be sat on a 25 now and then I would have been happy.

“I think there is a lot of pressure having gone so well last year and you always want to better it, so you sort of think, ‘Damn, that wasn’t quite as good as last year’.

“But it’s not going to be a dressage competition, there’s  a big track out there to jump so there are two more days until the end of the competition and it’s all to play for.”

The world-renowned Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials is one of only six five-star events in the eventing calendar - and one third of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing.

It has become one of the most popular and highly regarded events within the equestrian and social calendars, ranking within the UK’s top ten national sporting occasions by attendance.

Two days of dressage are followed by cross-country on Saturday and the showjumping finale on Sunday at family-friendly Burghley, which attracts more than 160,000 visitors each year.

And as Bullimore prepares to reproduce her cross-country heroics from 2018, she insisted the latest Captain Mark Phillips course once again provides a whole new test for riders.

“There are a couple of similar questions but there are also plenty of new questions and while some are similar, they have been tweaked just a little bit - nothing is ever the same,” she said.

“You know at home you can practice the same exercise plenty of times over but just because you do it perfectly the first time, doesn’t mean you’ll do it another nine times perfectly.

“Anything can go wrong, things happen, it’s not like riding a mechanical object, the have their own brains too and sometimes that goes a little bit off side.

“We are quite a small team and we try to work as a close-knit team but I have some amazing owners. Chris and Sue who own Reve Du Rouet have been with me for over 20 years.

“They are such loyal, amazing owners and they have a couple of other horses that they own - up and coming ones and more established - and I’m lucky they stand by me through thick and thin.”

By Peter White, Sportsbeat – 020 3026 3780           

WITH three capable horses among his ranks, reigning champion Tim Price believes it made sense to compete on all of them at the 2019 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.

Price, 40, sits second and eighth on horses Bango and Xavier Faer respectively in the dressage after an entertaining first day of equine cross-country action at Burghley House, near Stamford.

And while admitting he was hoping for more success after claiming the top prize with Ringwood Sky Boy - who goes in the dressage on day two - in Lincolnshire last year, the Marlborough-based rider wouldn’t be drawn into which horse he has the highest hopes for this time out.

“I had no reason not to bring them all and the fact that I have to work that little bit harder is just my problem,” he said.

“What often happens at somewhere like Burghley is something just goes wrong with one of your horses, so having there that are very much suited to this event – I had no logical reason not to bring them.

“I was really happy with Bango – he’s not always that easy but today was probably the best he’s done at this level, and Xavier Faer kept it together well so I’ve got to be pleased.

“They’re all good horses, and with another Ringwood Sky Boy as well I hope I can be fighting at the top end of the leaderboard.”

Elsewhere, Lacock’s David Doel admitted the challenging atmosphere was a tough nut to crack for his horse on his debut appearance at Burghley.

Doel, 26, sits 21st in the standings with Shannondale Quest after the opening day’s action in Lincolnshire, with Swindon’s Julia Norman 25th on Carryon Bobby Boy and Landford Common Stud’s Arthur Chabert 30th on Goldsmiths Imber.

“There were a few things that were happening in the practice ring that didn’t materialise in the real thing, but I’m still happy enough with the score,” said Doel.

“It’s great to finally make it to Burghley – everyone’s just so cheerful compared to some other events - and I can’t wait for the rest of the competition.”

The world-renowned Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials is one of only six five-star events in the eventing calendar - and one third of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing.

It has become one of the most popular and highly regarded events within the equestrian and social calendars, ranking within the UK’s top ten national sporting occasions by attendance.

Two days of dressage are followed by cross-country on Saturday and the showjumping finale on Sunday at family-friendly Burghley, which attracts more than 160,000 visitors each year.

And with three horses to prepare, last year’s champion Price admits he is still fine-tuning his plans for the remaining phases of the event.

He said: “We’ve got a couple of places to test and I haven’t quite decided what I’m going to do.

“I definitely have to get the formula right because they’re all slightly different and the course if going to be asking plenty of questions as always.

“We’ve had a good start but it’s just about making the most of that now and kicking on.”

By Peter White, Sportsbeat – 020 3026 3780

FOUR-TIME OLYMPIAN Pippa Funnell followed up her European team silver medal in Luhmühlen by making a solid start to the 2019 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.

Funnell, 50, who won the event in 2003, and horse Billy Walk On sit fifth in the dressage standings after an entertaining first day of equine cross-country action at Burghley House, near Stamford.

Having been called up to the squad in Germany as a late replacement, Funnell admitted the interruption to her Burghley may have influenced some mistakes in the first phase of competition.

But having completed the dressage on the first of two rookie horses at the event this year, she admitted she was delighted with the gelding’s performance.

“I’m really pleased with him,” she said. “He’s quite a big horse to wagon and I think he still has some development to do, but overall I was happy.

“I made a mistake at the end – I’d like to say it was a blonde moment but it was probably a senior moment – which was frustrating but it’s definitely a score to work with.

“I haven’t had much time since coming back from Luhmühlen which was a really special experience, but it’s wonderful as always to be back at Burghley.”

The world-renowned Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials is one of only six five-star events in the eventing calendar - and one third of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing.

It has become one of the most popular and highly regarded events within the equestrian and social calendars, ranking within the UK’s top ten national sporting occasions by attendance.

Two days of dressage are followed by cross-country on Saturday and the showjumping finale on Sunday at family-friendly Burghley, which attracts more than 160,000 visitors each year.

And with two horses making their debut at Burghley, Funnell admitted she hopes the preparation she has made at home bears fruit on the biggest stage.

She said: “They’ve done all the work and the hills they need to do, but Burghley can surprise you – you never know how tired they’re going to be.

“I’ve got two different plans in my head for the cross country phase. I’ve walked the course and it’s going to be tough, but I can’t wait to get out there and see what we can do.”

The multi-award winning Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (September 5 - 8) has been established as a major international equestrian and social event in the Autumn Sporting Calendar for over 50 years. For more information visit www.burghley-horse.co.uk

 

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