Neville Bardos Leads U.S. Eventing Horses on Cross-Country Day at Burghley

Boyd Martin and Neville Bardos. Photos: www. stockimageservices. com.

Lexington, KY – The Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team have two cross-country superstars in their midst as both Boyd Martin on Neville Bardos, and Sinead Halpin on Manoir de Carneville looked poised and confident as they galloped through Burghley Park. These pairs represented an inspiring future American Eventing over a course that was deemed a ‘throwback’ as the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011.

Clear rounds were difficult to come by over Capt. Mark Phillips boldly designed, old-fashioned feeling track. But Martin and Neville dominated their first Burghley – flying home to an emotional 11th place after the first two phases. They backed up their dressage score of 49.7 with a flawless performance in Neville’s favorite phase. They were one of nine double-clear rounds of the day.

“Neville gave me a great round cross country,” said Martin (Cochranville, PA). “He was strong and bold throughout the course which is wonderful at this sort of event… he loves charging at all the big fences. He pulled up with plenty of energy.”

The fact 12-year-old Neville Bardos (owned by the Neville Bardos Syndicate) is alive is incredible, and the fact the Australian Thoroughbred just cruised around the biggest cross-country track in the world is not far short of a miracle.

Three months ago he was fighting for his life in a horrific fire at Martin’s barn at True Prospect Farm. Neville was the last horse Martin was able to rescue from the flames. He lost six horses and Neville Bardos fought for his life at the New Bolton Center.

He prevailed, overcoming the smoke inhalation that had seared his lungs – the prognosis was tepid, morale was low and Martin took it one day at a time. Neville clearly had other ideas.

“It was a moving time riding him around out there,” said Martin. “Initially I wasn’t sure where he would end up after the fire. But he was still alive and he seemed alright so we picked this event to focus on. It was a distraction with the all the terrible things that have happened over the summer – with (wife) Silva’s and my fathers both dying, and the fire.”

It took the sport’s entire community to keep Martin and Neville Bardos on track and make this trip, and Neville’s recovery possible. He was funded by a Land Rover Competition and Training Grant, a new initiative in 2011 to provide the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team the chance to test their skills overseas.

“The American horse lovers have supported me and Neville in so many ways,” said Martin. “From the farriers shoeing him for free to the vets cutting me a break on some of the therapies he needed like the hyperbaric chamber. The Syndicate also went far beyond their duties and obligations to make sure I could make it here, and so did the sponsors – like Land Rover who provided the grant so we could jump on the plane and come over here and compete against the best in the world.”

Sinead Halpin and Manoir de Carneville

Halpin (Pottersville, NJ) wasn’t going to be showed too far up by Martin, and Carrig, LLC’s, Manoir de Carneville looked very comfortable jumping around their first Burghley CCI4*. The pair are the current Rolex USEF National CCI4* Champions, a title they scored at the 2011 Rolex Kentucky CCI4* in April. Burghley marks only the second CCI4* for the pair in their meteoric rise to the top of the sport.

They added 4.8 time faults to their dressage score, finishing on 50.8 after the two phases, to slip into 12th place behind Martin.

Halpin received the 2011 Jacqueline Mars Training Grant and has spent most of August in the U.K. this summer working on her game.

Great Britain’s eventing wizard, William Fox-Pitt, regained his lead by adding nothing to his dressage score on Parklane Hawk at the 2011 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.  After winning the dressage on Thursday on the lovely New Zealand Thoroughbred, Fox-Pitt had to settle for second behind Simone Deitermann and Free Easy NRW after the dressage, but the German leader parted ways with her horse today setting Fox-Pitt up for a chance at his sixth Burghley victory.

He heads into the show jumping on a score of 39.7. New Zealander Andrew Nicholson stormed around on Avebury to finish on his dressage score of 42.8, meaning Fox-Pitt doesn’t have a rail in hand over Nicholson or 2010 winner Caroline Powell who returned to the top of the leaderboard with Lenamore and is tied with Nicholson. Lenamore, an evergreen 18-year-old, also added nothing to his dressage score.

Fox-Pitt is also ninth with Neuf Des Couers, Nicholson is fifth with Nereo and a third British veteran, Mary King, also has two horses in the top 10. King was first and second at the 2011 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by Bridgestone. The winner of that event, King’s Temptress, is fourth at Burghley going into the show jumping on a score of 43.4, within a rail of the lead. If King could pull off a win this weekend, she would add the second part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing, meaning that if she won the 2012 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials she would take home the Grand Slam prize of $350,000.

It is extraordinarily close with 10 points separating the top 11 horses.

Colleen Rutledge made her fist Burghley trip worth the miles from Frederick, MD, with Shiraz. They jumped around confidently, just adding 9.2 faults in a superb effort. They go into the show jumping on a score of 72.9.

Jules Stiller, originally from Vermont but now based in Berkshire, looked poised for a great round on Chapel Amble only to run into some trouble at the Trout Hatchery. They had to do a circle to get out and picked up 20 penalties for the change of plans. They also added 14.4 time faults. Like Halpin and Rutledge, this was their second CCI4*.

It was a disappointing day for U.S. rider Michael Pollard as he and Icarus suffered a fall at the last water jump after setting off on a mission. Pollard broke his wrist and Icarus is being evaluated by the U.S. Eventing Team veterinarians. Initial reports indicate no serious injury.

Pollard was named to the 2011 Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team with Schoesgreen Hanni and will represent the U.S. at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico in October.

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