Burghley’s under way!

As the Burghley horse trials kick off, we take a look at the form of the nine New Zealanders in the field

There is plenty of action for New Zealand fans at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials which start today, with nine horses entered to be ridden under the Kiwi flag.

Andrew Nicholson is there with Nereo. He’ll be hard to beat, having just won the Barbury CIC3*, and we all know Andrew’s Burghley form: he’s won three of the past four years!

NZL-Andrew Nicholson with Nereo during the CCI4* First Horse Inspection at the 2016 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. Wednesday 31 August. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography
Andrew looks thrilled to be back at Burghley with his old mate Nereo (Image: Libby Law)

Tim Price has two in: his Olympic horse, Ringwood Sky Boy, as well as the lovely younger horse, Bango. RSB has good form here, having finished second last year behind Michael Jung and Sam, and Tim just needs a bit of luck on his side for a change! Bango is a quality horse too, looking amazing at Kentucky earlier this year before a fall at the second-to-last fence, and he could well come through for a top result.

NZL-Tim Price with Bango during the CCI4* First Horse Inspection at the 2016 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. Wednesday 31 August. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography
Bango showing off some fancy footwork at the trot-up with Tim (Image: Libby Law)

There’s great excitement seeing Caroline Powell back at Burghley with her horse Onwards And Upwards, who has three four-star completions. Caroline won this event here in 2010 on the wonderful Lenamore.

NZL-Caroline Powell with Onwards and Upwards during the CCI4* First Horse Inspection at the 2016 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. Wednesday 31 August. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography
Caroline Powell and Onwards And Upwards rocking the trot-up in the fashion stakes (Image: Libby Law)

Blyth will be hoping that Bear Necessity V can produce another great cross-country round like he did at Badminton, where he finished 13th, and we can guarantee that Jonelle Price on Classic Moet will be scooting around that track recording one of the fastest times.

NZL-Blyth Tait with Bear Necessity V during the CCI4* First Horse Inspection at the 2016 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. Wednesday 31 August. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography
Blyth and Bear Necessity V (Image: Libby Law)
NZL-Jonelle Price with Classic Moet during the CCI4* First Horse Inspection at the 2016 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. Wednesday 31 August. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography
Jonelle and Classic Moet (Image: Libby Law)

Sir Mark Todd is also in the lineup on NZB Campino, and while Toddy says he isn’t sure that Campino is a Burghley horse, we won’t be surprised to see him among the top finishers, as he is such a quality horse. The rider is not too bad either.

NZL-Sir Mark Todd with NZB Campino during the CCI4* First Horse Inspection at the 2016 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. Wednesday 31 August. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography
Sir Mark Todd and NZB Campino (Image: Libby Law)

And finally, Dan Jocelyn hasn’t competed at Burghley for some time, but is back this year on Dassett Cool Touch.

NZL-Dan Jocelyn with Dassett Cool Touch during the CCI4* First Horse Inspection at the 2016 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. Wednesday 31 August. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography
Dan Jocelyn and Dassett Cool Touch (Image: Libby Law)

All the horses passed the first inspection, and the dressage draw has been posted. Tim and Bango are the first out for New Zealand (at 10.16pm NZ time), followed by Dan at 2.38am NZ time, and Jonelle two horses later at 2.54am NZ time.

On the second day of dressage, Sir Mark is first up for New Zealand, at 9.10pm NZ time, then Andrew on Nereo, Blyth and Caroline are all in a row from 1.08am NZ time. Tim and Ringwood Sky Boy are the final Kiwis out, at 2.04 NZ time.

There are a number of Australians to keep an eye on as well. Sonja Johnson didn’t make the cut for the Olympics on Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison, so she will be looking to prove a point, along with Paul Tapner and Bill Levett, her fellow countrymen from the reserves bench for Rio, plus Andrew Hoy.

Shane Rose will be looking to make amends for his Rio performance; he has Shanghai Joe and the lovely Virgil starting. We were very impressed with the latter at last year’s Adelaide, when he was second behind Shane’s Olympic horse, CP Qualified.

Chris Burton will ride Nobilis 18, a horse who was so impressive at Badminton until he had an unlucky cross-country fall, while Sam Griffiths has his old partner Happy Times running; the pair have been third both here and at Badminton.

Young Kiwi’s debut

There is a young Kiwi rider making her Burghley debut this weekend, in the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse class.

Samantha Mynott, who is from North Kaipara, is currently a working pupil for Jesse Campbell, and is riding I Spye II (by Harlequin du Carel out of Lombardos Corner). Sam qualified the horse, who is owned by Jesse, for the final – and good on him for letting her take the ride.

NZL-Samantha Mynott (WPS TONKA) DC-NZPC105-Open 17yrs and Over: 2015 NZL-Matamata Pony Club ODE (Sunday 1 March) CREDIT: Libby Law COPYRIGHT: LIBBY LAW PHOTOGRAPHY
Samantha Mynott, seen here on WPS Tonka at the Matamata Pony Club ODE in March last year, makes her Burghley debut in the Young Event Horse class (Image: Libby Law)

This year’s class will feature a ride judge for the first time. The horses will be in safe hands, as Olympian Ian Stark will ride the top four after the suitability and potential section has been marked.

The introduction of such a judge was described as an “interesting new development” by Liz Inman, event director of the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. She commented: “When we discussed how exactly anyone would go about trying to select a young championship horse of the future, we all agreed you’d want to ride it,” she said. “So, we’ve introduced a ride judge for this final.”

The BYEH finalists will perform a dressage test, scoring up to 30 marks, and tackle show jumping and cross-country fences, for which 40 marks are on offer. They are then assessed for conformation and quality, with a total of 20 marks available, and the top 10 horses go through to the suitability and performance section.

The top four horses’ scores will not be revealed before Ian’s rides, after which he will award each a mark out of eight. These scores will be added to the totals after suitability and performance to give the final top four places. Ian Stark said: “I think some good riders are probably very good at producing horses on the day. I will be looking for the raw talent in a horse that puts a smile on my face!”

The horses in fifth to 10th place will remain in the placings they held at the end of the suitability and performance judging.

Good luck Sam and I Spye!

It promises to be, as ever, an exciting event and Libby Law will be there to record the highlights for us.