Posted on 7th September 2019

Brits maintain their lead at Burghley Horse Trials after cross country

As always, the cross country phase of the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials caused a big shake up of the leader board, but incredible riding from Pippa Funnell ensured she held her lead at the end of day.


Pippa, who had a commanding lead after the dressage phase, added four time penalties on Jonathan and Jane Clarke's MGH Grafton Street to complete on a score of 26.8. The 2003 Burghley winner used all her experience to bring the CCI5*-L first-timer home clear, including sitting a scary moment that saw MGH Grafton Street pecking as they cantered through the final water and only narrowly avoiding a last minute swim.

An ecstatic Pippa, said after her round; “He was amazing, in a few places he felt inexperienced, and I just had to stay focussed and ride the feeling I got. I knew I had to be so sharp and on him the whole way round, but bless him I think he’ll grow from this. He was a good boy!

“It rode a really big track, it was a meaty track and you just had to stay brave. I’m just absolutely buzzing! I’m thrilled for his owners, and I’m going to try to get my husband back, he’s jumping abroad, to walk the show jumping with me - it would be lovely to just keep my nose in front of them tomorrow. It’s really exciting, I’m not going to retire just yet!”

A cross country masterclass from the 2019 Badminton winners, Piggy French and Trevor Dicken’s Vanir Kamira, gave them the title as the only combination to complete today on their dressage score to jump from fifth after dressage to second.

Their clear round inside the time and time penalties from Pippa sees the gap between first and second narrow to just 0.1, with Piggy finishing today on a score of 26.9. Piggy said; “She’s great isn’t she?! She’s incredible to come home like she does, I think I’m a bit down [on time] and you just press a button – she’s hardy. It’s great fun once it’s finished but I don’t want to go and do it again!”

Oliver Townend drops one place to third after picking up two time penalties on his 2017 winner, Ballaghmor Class. Owned by Karyn Shuter, the scopey grey made the course look effortless on a day that saw only 22 of the 64 starters jump clear around Captain Mark Phillips’ course.

Oliver said; “Frustrating, but at the same time it’s a marathon, and with him I’m always saving him, he’s a little keen and jumps too high – which hopefully tomorrow will be a benefit. So it’s frustrating but at the same time I’m happy with the ride I’ve given him and the trip he’s given me, and hopefully he’ll come out fresh tomorrow and jump in the same fashion.”

Sweden’s Ludwig Svennerstal held the lead for most of the day after coming home clear with just six time penalties on Stinger to complete today in fourth on 38.8 penalties. Sarah Bullimore (GBR) sits in fifth place on Christopher and Susan Gillespie and Brett Bullimore’s Reve du Rouet with a score of 39.6.

After suffering a fall from her experience CCI5*-L campaigner, Arctic Soul, Gemma Tattersall (GBR) enjoyed a brilliant round on Caroline Teltsch’s Santiago Bay, coming home clear with 11.2 time penalties on the mares first time at this level to hold sixth place.

Cross country pathfinder, Tim Price (NZL), got the day underway in fine style on The Numero Uno Syndicate’s Bango, adding 12 time penalties to their dressage score for seventh place on 41.6. Renowned for leaping up the leaderboard at the end of cross country with their quick clear rounds, Imogen Murray (GBR) and the MS Team and Aivar Ward’s Ivar Gooden didn’t disappoint today. Adding just four time penalties to their score, they moved up from 60th after dressage to eighth, finishing on 44.4 penalties.

Sebastien Cavaillon and Sarah d’Argouges hold ninth place for France on 49 penalties, with Becky Woolven (GBR) moving up 20 places after dressage to complete the top ten on Julie Record’s DHI Babette K on a score of 52.2.

Horses will first be presented in the Final Horse Inspection tomorrow morning before the show jumping to decide the final placings.

See the full scores HERE

Find out how you can watch the show jumping HERE

Image credit Adam Fanthorpe