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Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials 2018

Words By Stephanie DeWitt   Photography Julian Portch   @lrbht_official

New Zealand’s Tim Price riding the 15 year-old Ringwood Sky Boy was the proud winner of the Land Rover Perpetual Challenge Trophy at this year’s Burghley Horse Trials, emulating his wife Jonelle’s success at Badminton in May.   The last time a married couple achieved this was in 1971, the couple in question being Captain Mark Phillips and HRH Princess Anne.


Tim and his horse added only 0.4 cross-country time penalties to their dressage score of 26.9, after which phase they lay in second place behind Sir Mark Todd and Kiltubrid Rhapsody.   However, Sir Mark and his mount came to grief at fence 10, the Gurkha Kukri, leaving Tim and Sky Boy ahead of the field, a confident clear showjumping round cementing their success.


“To win at this level an element of experience comes into play,” said Tim.   “I believe in preparation and method, in a calmness of procedure.”


Last year’s winners, Oliver Townend and Ballaghmore Class, had to be content with second place;  even if they hadn’t taken a showjumping pole out they were still fractionally behind the winners.  


Congratulating Tim, Oliver said, “The Price family have been a pain in my backside all year!   It’s Tim’s day today, but it’s also very, very special for me to come second.   My horse turned into a professional this year;  his win last year was through naivety.”


Five-time winner Andrew Nicholson riding the relatively inexperienced 10 year-old Swallow Springs rose from 16th to 3rd by dint of careful jumping while Tina Cook and Star Witness made the greatest leap up the order from 62nd to finish 11th.


Out of seventy starters only thirty-nine completed Mark Phillips’ tough cross-country course, with just four inside the time.   Only eight clear rounds were posted in the showjumping arena.


Captain Mark Phillips honestly thought no one would get round his cross-country course inside the time:  “The cross-country phase played a real influence in the result,” he said.   “The footing was good and we saw some real class riding on class horses.   I was surprised by the number of people who got round without jumping faults - it was fabulous to see!   A lot of people got round that I didn’t expect to get round!   It was the biggest track for years.

“The Leaf Pit was the most influential fence, both last year and this.   I didn’t enjoy the new feature at Clarence Court, especially the last skinny, so it won’t be there next year!”

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