Tag Archives: Christopher Burton

Christopher Burton Takes Dressage Lead with Graf Liberty at Badminton

Christopher Burton and Graf Liberty (FEI/Jon Stroud)

Ingrid Klimke (GER) and Horseware Hale Bob close second ahead of Jonty Evans (IRL) and Cooley Rorkes Drift in third

Australia’s Christopher Burton produced a typically elegant display to lead the dressage phase at the 4* Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, fourth leg of the FEI Classics™, with the outstanding mark of 32.9 on the 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse Graf Liberty.

The only riders to have bettered Burton’s score in Badminton’s 68-year history are fellow Aussie Andrew Hoy with Darien Powers in 2000 and Britain’s Pippa Funnell on Supreme Rock in 2002.

“I’m so proud of my horse. I can’t believe it. I deliberately didn’t push him too much at the start of the week – I didn’t even get on the horse until Wednesday afternoon – as I have been known to overdo it on him before, but he worked in better and better and to come out of the arena with a 32.9 is fantastic. I’m so happy.” — Christopher Burton (AUS)

‘Burto’, winner of Burghley and an Olympic team bronze medallist last year, leads the 2015 runners-up Ingrid Klimke (GER) on Horseware Hale Bob by 3.5 penalties.

“There was so much atmosphere but as soon as we went into the arena, he felt safe. He is such a sweet horse. I’m looking forward to the cross-country – it’s a mix of big bold fences and accuracy tests and you have to concentrate, but I have ridden some difficult courses in my time and I feel my horse is in good shape.” — Ingrid Klimke (GER)

Irishman Jonty Evans, back at Badminton for the first time in 10 years, broke down in tears on hearing his mark of 37.2, which puts him in third place, and pointed emphatically to Cooley Rorkes Drift, the horse that took him to ninth place at the Rio Olympics last year. The last Irish rider to win Badminton was Eddie Boylan (Durlas Eile) in 1965 and the last top-three finisher was Jessica Harrington, who was third with Amoy in 1983.

“He is my horse of a lifetime. We have trained so hard and I’ve wanted to get under 40 for so long. It’s unbelievable, very special. I’d like to think the cross country will suit my horse – he doesn’t look big because I’m so lanky, but he’s got a long stride. Finishing on my dressage score is the aim!” — Jonty Evans (IRL)

Belgium’s Karin Donckers (Fletcha Van ‘T De Verahof, 37.3), the USA’s Lauren Kieffer (Veronica, 38.0) and New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson (Nereo, 38.0), who has completed Badminton more times than any other rider (35), have now overtaken first-day leader Thibaut Vallette (FRA) and are in fourth and equal fifth. Defending champion Michael Jung (GER) is now ninth on La Biosthetique Sam but cannot be ruled out.

Riders are looking forward to the cross country course, variously described as ‘massive’, ‘imposing’ and ‘needing total concentration’ with a mix of excitement and trepidation. Britain’s Izzy Taylor sums it up: ‘Eric [Winter, designer] has handed the responsibility to the rider, which is the right direction. I think we’ll be looking at some different results tomorrow.”

Press contacts:

At FEI:

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

At Badminton:

Julian Seaman
Head of Media
J.Seaman2@sky.com
+44 7831 515736

Olympic Medallists Burton and Klimke Take Young Horse Eventing Gold at Le Lion

Ingrid Klimke and Weisse Duene. (Dirk Caremans/FEI)

Selle Francais Studbook claims overall title

Le Lion d’Angers (FRA), 24 October 2015 – Rio 2016 Olympic Games team bronze medallist Christopher Burton from Australia topped the 6-year-old division with the KWPN Fire Fly while team silver medallist Ingrid Klimke from Germany steered the Holsteiner mare Weisse Duene to victory in the 7-year-old category at the FEI World Breeding Federation Eventing Championships for Young Horses 2016 at Le Lion d’Angers, France.

This was the 31st edition of these Championships which have been staged annually since 1992, and spectators flocked into the lovely venue at the Haras National at l‘Isle de Briand throughout the weekend, with a massive crowd of almost 35,000 spectators for Saturday’s cross-country phase.

Exciting new talent was highlighted in both age categories, with a total of 99 horses representing a range of studbooks. The Selle Francais claimed the overall Studbook title with a score of 154.6 points, but finished only a single point ahead of the KWPN in second on 154.7 while last year’s winners, the Irish Sport Horse Studbook, lined up third this time around with their final tally standing at 168.2 when the results of both age categories were analysed.

Six-Year-Olds

The Ground Jury for the 6-year-olds consisted of Germany’s Ernst Topp, Ireland’s David Lee and Bulgaria’s Yuri Dinev Valev and, from the field of 40 starters, they placed Germany’s Kai-Steffen Meier and the Trakehner stallion Painter’s Maxim (Philox/Painter’s Moon/Painter’s Row) in pole position after dressage on a score of 40.03.

Belgium’s Lara de Liedekerke-Mei and the Hannoverian gelding Ducati D’Arville (Diarado/Pricilla/Perpignon) filled second spot on 42.3 while Britain’s Izzy Taylor and the KWPN chestnut mare Jockey Club Fleurelle (Vivaldi/Zarelle/Sydney) slotted into third on 43.4. Burton was never far away, however, holding fourth with Fire Fly on a score of 44.2 while Switzerland’s Felix Vogg and Mathurin V/D Vogelzan was sitting in fifth place on 45.3 going into the cross-country phase.

Pierre Michelet’s fantastic cross-country track jumped really well, with just one retirement and three eliminations around the course, and the time-allowed of 8’ 53” proved well within the grasp of most, only nine collecting time penalties on the day. All of the top six held their spots, so it came down to the final jumping round to decide the medal placings.

Vogg and Burton each posted a brilliant clear to finish on their dressage scores, so when all those ahead of them faltered they soared up the leaderboard. Taylor’s single mistake cost her the win, but when double-errors dropped Meier to fourth and Liedekerke-Mei to sixth place, then the British rider claimed bronze behind Vogg in silver and Burton in gold medal position.

There was nothing boastful about Burton in the aftermath, however, the 34-year-old double-Olympian acknowledging that fortune favoured him in the closing stages.

“I am happy,” he said. “There were so many good six year old horses with good riders; I really needed all the luck for this win and I had exactly that in the jumping because my horse touched several poles that didn’t fall! There were others who were not so lucky. My horse performed exactly how I could have wished, and it’s great to finish this season so well.”

Seven-Year-Olds

It was a case of “déjà vu” for Ingrid Klimke when the German star found herself heading the 7-year-old leaderboard after dressage with the grey mare Weisse Duene (Clarimo/Esprit V/Romino), because that was where the pair placed after the same phase in last year’s 6-year-old competition before a stop and time penalties on the cross-country course put paid to their chances.

This time around the Ground Jury of Austria’s Christian Steiner, Sweden’s Anne Persson and Eric Lieby from France awarded them a dressage mark of 36.9 for a clear lead over Britain’s Pippa Funnell and the AES gelding Billy Walk On (Billy Mexico/Shannon Line/Golden Bash) on a score of 39.0, while Austria’s Charlotte Dobretsberger slotted into third with the Hannoverian mare Vally K when posting 45.2.

British riders were dominant in the early stages in this division, with Kitty King in fourth with the Selle Francais Vendredi Biats (Winningmood van de Arenberg/Liane Normandie/Camelia de Ruelles) on a mark of 45.4 and Gemma Tattersall in sixth with the SHBGB mare Chillis Gem (Chilli Morning/Kings Gem/Rock King) on a score of 45.9. Lying fifth going into cross-country day was the 29-year-old Frenchman Maxime Livio who was the sensational winner of the first leg of the FEI Classics™ 2016/2017 at Pau (FRA) a week ago. Riding the Selle Francais gelding Vroum D’Auzay he slotted in between the two British riders with his score of 45.7.

From a starting field of 59 there were five eliminations and one retirement on the cross-country course, with 19 getting home within the time of 9’11” while 17 collected fence penalties on their tour of the track. Both third-placed Dobretsberger and fourth-placed King dropped out of contention with single refusals, and this saw Livio moving up to third spot behind Funnell and Klimke who retained the top two placings when foot-perfect all the way.

Leaderboard

The final jumping phase saw the leaderboard shaken up once again, however, Livio’s 16 faults sending him plummeting right down to 23rd place while some of the biggest names in the sport began to emerge at the top of the scoreboard. Britain’s Tattersall dropped from fourth to seventh with just a single mistake, allowing Germany’s Andreas Dibowski and the Hannoverian FRH Corrida (Contendro/Expo/Esprit) to move into sixth when adding nothing to their dressage mark of 49.9. And when Rio 2016 Olympic Games team gold and individual silver medallist Astier Nicolas, fellow Frenchman Thomas Carlile, and New Zealand’s Jonelle Price did likewise they moved into fifth, fourth and third in the final analysis.

Price’s KWPN gelding Cooley Showtime (Chin Chin/Limone/Julio Mariner) posted the same final score as Carlile’s AA gelding Vassily de Lassos (Jaguar Mail/Illusion Perdue/Jalenny), but the Kiwi rider’s spot-on cross-country timing gave her the edge for the place on the podium.

It was a sweet gold-medal-winning success for Klimke whose horse demonstrated the very essence of what these Championships are all about. Things didn’t turn out so well for the pair 12 months ago, but it all came together for them this time around.

“My mare should be the one credited with this win,” said the 48-year-old rider. “Last year her inexperience on the cross country cost us, but this year she was brilliant in the three tests and confirmed exactly what I think of her! She is definitely a mare for the future and she certainly has the potential to go to the Olympics in Tokyo in four years’ time!”

Full results here

Full rankings here

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Le Lion d’Angers:

Robert Adenot
Press Officer
robert.adenot@ifce.fr
+33 62295 6617

At FEI:

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Christopher Burton Fulfils Burghley Dream

Christopher Burton and Nobilis 18. (Trevor Meeks/FEI)

Lausanne (SUI), September 4 2016 – Christopher Burton (AUS), one of the most talented riders to hit the Eventing circuit in the last few years, emerged victorious on Nobilis 18 at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR), final leg of the FEI Classics™ 2015/2016, even if he did live a little dangerously in the closing stages of the competition.

Such was Burton’s supremacy after the first two phases that he entered the Jumping arena with four fences in hand, but he did manage to hit four – if he’d had another he would have handed a sixth Burghley victory to the invincible Andrew Nicholson (NZL), who rose a place to be second on Nereo with just one down and a couple of time penalties.

Jonelle Price (NZL) scored her best CCI4* result this year, third on Classic Moet with just four faults, and her husband, Tim, who had taken the pressure off Burton with his three fences down on Ringwood Sky Boy, ended up in fourth place.

“I tried to keep it interesting for you all,” said Burton wryly. “Nobilis is usually a careful jumper, but he felt a bit tired and the ground was perhaps a little dead, but that’s three-day eventing for you.

“Never in my wildest dreams did it occur to me that I would win Burghley. I’d walked past all the plaques on Winners’ Avenue – all these old boys with their names on them! – and thought it would be nice to have my name there too.”

Andrew Nicholson may not quite count as an “old boy”, but he is 21 years older than Burton and he admits that he is not back to full strength after breaking his neck 12 months ago. “You don’t know how special this is,” he told the television cameras.

And it was particularly appropriate that this result should come on Libby Sellar’s 16-year-old Nereo, three-times a runner-up at Burghley, a winner of World and Olympic medals and a one-man horse with which the Kiwi genius has particular affinity.

Jonelle Price, who scored her best ever Burghley result, admitted that she was disappointed with her Dressage mark, which left her in 22nd place. “I feel as if I’ve been digging myself out of a hole from the start, first after the Dressage and then when I got time penalties with the wrong line at the Dairy Farm on the Cross Country. But now, of course, I’m delighted.”

Cedric Lyard (FRA) on Cadeau du Roi and Oliver Townend (GBR) on Samuel Thomas benefited from clear Jumping rounds and rose to fifth and seventh places, split by Bettina Hoy (GER), sixth, who incurred eight faults on Designer 10.

Only three other riders achieved clears over Richard Jeffrey’s influential Jumping track: Shane Rose (AUS) on Virgil, 16th, Tim Price on Bango, 21st, and Ros Canter (GBR) on Allstar B, 25th of the 38 finishers. Bill Levett (AUS) withdrew Improvise overnight when in ninth position.

Andrew Nicholson was also pleasantly surprised to find himself the recipient of 20,000 USD for leaping into third place in the FEI Classics™ 2015/2016, an astonishing achievement considering he has only competed at two CCI4* events this season – he was fifth at Luhmühlen in June.

No one was ever going to catch Michael Jung (GER), the runaway winner of the 40,000 USD FEI Classics™ 2015/2016 first prize with victories at Kentucky and Badminton plus a second place at Pau last year, but Tim Price, who was third at Pau and fourth at Luhmühlen as well, managed to hold onto second place and he takes home a cool 30,000 USD.

It has been an FEI Classics™ season of great thrills and stories, but one man has stolen the show and set the standard: the unmatchable Michael Jung.

About the Burghley winner

Christopher Burton, 34, is the current world number two. He has won Adelaide CCI4* twice, in 2008 on Newsprint and in 2013 on the catch ride TS Jamaimo, but he really sprang into the public consciousness with a brilliant trailblazing Cross Country ride at the London Olympic Games in 2012 where he finished 16th on Holstein Park Leilani.

Burton, who is married to fellow rider Rebekah, has been settled in Britain, in Surrey, for five years, notching up several good international placings including third and fourth places at Burghley last year on TS Jamaimo and Haruzac, and second place on Nobilis 18 at Blenheim CCI3*.

This year, he won the CCI3* at Saumur on Santano ll, his ride in the Rio Olympic Games where he led after the Cross Country phase and finished in eventual fifth place with a team bronze medal.

Nobilis 18 is an 11-year-old Hannoverian-bred gelding by Nobre owned by Sue Lawson, Carolyn Townsend and Chris Burton.

About the FEI Classics™ 2015/2016 winner

Michael Jung (GER), 34, has won an individual medal every year since 2009, six of them gold, and is the first rider in history to have held Olympic, World and European titles simultaneously.

Riding La Biosthetique Sam, he won the world title in Kentucky (USA) in 2010, double European gold in Luhmühlen in 2011 and double Olympic gold in London (GBR) in 2012 plus individual gold and team silver at the Rio Olympic Games (BRA) this year. He has won three European titles on three different horses: in 2011 on Sam, in 2013 on Halunke and in 2015 on FischerTakinou. He also won world team gold and individual silver medals on fisherRocana FST in 2014.

Jung, who lives at Horb, Germany, where his parents, Joachim and Bridgette, own a riding establishment, has also won Kentucky twice in succession on FischerRocana and in the last 12 months added victories at Burghley and Badminton on Sam to take the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing. This is his first FEI Classics™ victory.

FEI Classics™ 2015/2016 Final Leaderboard – see full results here

Use hashtags #FEIClassics #Eventing

By Kate Green

Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials Media Contact:

Carole Pendle
Press Officer
Carole.pendle@caa.com
+44 7768 462601

FEI Media Contact:

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Burton Rules Supreme at Burghley

Christopher Burton (AUS) and Nobilis 18 (Trevor Meeks/FEI)

Lausanne (SUI), September 3, 2016 – Christopher Burton (AUS) and Nobilis 18 were pure class at the end of a challenging Cross Country day at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR), final leg of the FEI Classics™ 2015/2016. They had the second fastest time of the day – finishing just 8 seconds over the optimum time of 11 minutes 11 seconds – and now have two fences in hand to win Sunday.

Burton had to wait until nearly the end of the day and admitted to nerves. “Sitting watching in the riders’ tent didn’t help,” he confessed. “But I’m delighted now; the horse gave me a great feel.”

Experienced antipodean riders dominated an exciting day and now fill seven of the top 10 places. Last year’s runners-up Tim Price (NZL) and Ringwood Sky Boy are in second place again, with the third fastest round of the day (6 time penalties), and five-time winner Andrew Nicholson (NZL) is lying third on the 16-year-old Nereo, collecting 12 time penalties.

“Nereo doesn’t really like it at Burghley, because he’s a long-striding horse and finds the undulations difficult, but he always does the job,” said Nicholson. “I’ve got a soft spot for him. I’ve taken him all round the world and he always comes up with the goods.”

Jonelle Price (NZL), now in fourth place, was quickest of all, only 4 seconds over time on Classic Moet, but was cross with herself for having to take a muddled line through the fence dressings at the Dairy Farm (fence 14). However her performance was, in reality, brilliant, for time penalties in double figures were the order of the day even before the heavy rain started to fall around lunchtime.

Bettina Hoy (GER), the Dressage runner-up on Designer 10, admitted to feeling “intimidated” and set off tentatively, but the further she went the more polished she looked and she finished strongly with 19.2 time penalties to take fifth place at this stage.

Hoy said: “It was tough and I was a bit ‘backwards’ to start with and had to give myself a good talking-to, but what a horse! I’m so pleased. I don’t have many horses nowadays so I think I am able to have a good relationship with them and they help me out.”

Sir Mark Todd (NZL) has risen four places to sixth with NZB Campino, having feared that the German-bred 14-year-old would not like the undulating ground. Todd and Nicholson were two of the best riders through the water complex at the Trout Hatchery (20, 21), both opting for a bold four strides instead of five to on the curve from the corner to the third element, a skinny in the second pond.

Caroline Powell (NZL) has dropped three places to seventh on Onwards and Upwards with 21.6 time penalties, but France’s Cedric Lyard and Cadeau du Roi, a classy Thoroughbred galloper, have moved up from 14th to eighth and Australia’s Bill Levett has risen three places to ninth on Improvise.

British number one Oliver Townend, fifth after Dressage on MHS King Joules, was last out on course and was going well until he missed his line at the Trout Hatchery. Townend then retired after a run-out at the third element of the Discovery Valley (27), but he is now the best-placed of the home side in 10th place on his first ride, Samuel Thomas.

Blyth Tait (NZL), riding at Burghley for the first time in five years, pronounced himself “rapt” with the former hunter Bear Necessity V. They dropped two places to 11th after negotiating a couple of unplanned long routes, but Tait joked modestly: “If Andrew Nicholson gets 12 time penalties, then 24 is very good for me!”

Olympic reserve Kristina Cook (GBR) was at her very best on Star Witness, despite the horse pulling off a shoe, and is in 12th place, a rise of 32 places after Dressage. They had a nervous moment when the horse tripped in the water at the Trout Hatchery and had to jump the big brush corner out of trot, but Cook never lost her conviction.

“Burghley is always enormous and scary and you have to pick your horse,” said Cook, who works as assistant to her racehorse trainer brother Nick Gifford. “Star Witness is amazing; he’s a Thoroughbred with a pony attitude, and he makes me look fast, which I love.”

Cook described the course as “big and testing” but said the organisers had done “a fantastic job” on the going which other riders reported to have held up well, despite an afternoon of torrential rain.

Andrew Hoy (AUS), who had been in sixth place after Dressage on The Blue Frontier, took a ducking in the Trout Hatchery, but he is in 15th place after a good ride on Rutherglen. Sam Griffiths (AUS), eighth after Dressage on Happy Times, made a valiant effort to continue after a stirrup broke, but was unfortunately forced to pull up.

Fellow Australians Shane Rose, Sonja Johnson and Paul Tapner didn’t have the best of days either. Rose pulled up Shanghai Joe at the Road to Rio double in the main arena (28, 29) and incurred 11 penalties for breaking a frangible device at the Cross Rails (25); Johnson fell from Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison at the Rolex corner (15), and Tapner was taken to hospital for a precautionary check-up after a fall with Up In the Air at the rails at Herbert’s Hollow (22).

Forty riders completed with 28 clear rounds; Holly Payne-Caravella (USA) is best of the 16 Burghley first-timers in 17th place on Never Outfoxed.

Although Christopher Burton is the clear leader going into Sunday’s Jumping phase, and looks set to become the first Australian to win Burghley for 10 years, the cash prizes in the FEI Classics™ are till up for grabs with Tim Price and Mark Todd, in particular, looking to make gains, and riders placed sixth to 10th all within a rail of each other.

Follow the finale with live results on www.burghley-horse.co.uk and video action on www.burghley.tv.

Use hashtags #FEIClassics #Eventing

By Kate Green

Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials Media Contact:

Carole Pendle
Press Officer
Carole.pendle@caa.com
+44 7768 462601

FEI Media Contact:

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Burton Blazes the Trail at Burghley

Christopher Burton (AUS) and Nobilis 18 (Trevor Meeks/FEI)

Lausanne (SUI), September 2, 2016 – The stylish Christopher Burton (AUS) is on course to win his first CCI4* on British soil after storming into the lead at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR), final leg of the FEI Classics™ 2015/2016, with a stunning Dressage test on the 17hh Nobilis 18.

Burton, who also led the Dressage at the Rio Olympic Games last month, eventually finishing fifth with a team bronze medal, wowed the Ground Jury, Sue Baxter (GBR, President), Anne Mette-Binder (DEN) and David Lee (IRL), with his graceful riding and the Hannoverian gelding’s luxurious paces and balanced outline., scoring just 30.2 penalties.

He now has 4.3 penalties in hand over first-day leader Bettina Hoy (GER) in a top 10 which, as predicted, is dominated by antipodean flags.

“Nobilis was fantastic and I’m so proud of him,” said Burton of the 11-year-old that was initially produced by last year’s Burghley winner, Michael Jung (GER). The pair has won four of their nine international starts and were second at Blenheim CCI3* (GBR) last year.

“He can be quirky and he got rather lit up at Badminton [where they fell on the Cross-Country], but here he let me ride him and put my leg on. I can’t believe it.”

This time last year, five-time Burghley winner Andrew Nicholson (NZL) was watching on television at home, as he recovered from a broken neck. However, the 55-year-old Kiwi never doubted he would return to top level and now he is back at the event that brings out the best in him, in third place on Nereo, with the excellent mark of 35.2.

The 16-year-old chestnut gelding, a world bronze medallist in 2010 and an Olympic team bronze medallist in 2012, produced a smooth test, with particularly smart lateral work, the only slight hiccup coming when the horse trod on himself during the rein-back.

Nicholson, 55, has had the Spanish-bred Nereo since a three-year-old. “I think the soft going in the arena perhaps shut his power off a bit, and as he’s a sensitive horse I thought I’d accept it rather than pushing him,” he reported. “Nereo has been one of my favourite horses ever since I got him and I trust him to behave with the crowd and to concentrate.”

Another New Zealander, Caroline Powell, who won Burghley in 2010 on Lenamore, is right up at the sharp end, in fourth place on Onwards and Upwards with the good score of 37.8, and the 2009 winner, Oliver Townend (GBR) is best of the home side on fifth place on MHS King Joules, a horse previously ridden by Andrew Nicholson and Mary King (GBR), on 38.1.

Two Irish-bred horses are in sixth and seventh: The Blue Frontier, ridden by dual Burghley winner Andrew Hoy (AUS), and last year’s runner-up, Ringwood Sky Boy with Tim Price (NZL).

Burton’s Rio team mate Sam Griffiths (AUS) is having his seventh Burghley ride on the 17-year-old Happy Times and is in eighth place on 39.6. “He’s like Roger Federer – he’s quite old but I like to think he’s still got it!” joked Griffiths.

Two seasoned New Zealanders complete the top 10, with Blyth Tait (Bear Necessity V) heading five-time winner Sir Mark Todd (NZB Campino) by 2.2 penalties.

Tait, who has only competed once at Burghley since he first retired from the sport in 2004, was thrilled at the progress made by his mount, an 11-year-old former hunter, following their 13th place at Badminton.

“If Pippa [Funnell] or Bettina had him, he’d probably be better, but we’ve come on together and the horse has exceeded all my expectations,” he said.

“Burghley has always been a happy hunting ground for me. The unique undulations will be influential, and the size of the fences is frightening, but they make you ride well.”

Seventy horses completed the Dressage; Rodolphe Scherer (FRA) was eliminated when the Ground Jury decided that Makara de Montiege looked unlevel.

Burton, a dual winner of the Adelaide CCI4* (AUS), wasn’t allowing himself to get too carried away. “I think I’m more terrified than excited. It’s hard to feel confident when you’re facing the Cross Country at Burghley – it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been here, the Leaf Pit is still huge – but I’m on a blood horse and this place always gets me going.”

Andrew Nicholson considers that Course Designer Mark Phillips, who has produced a “fair and horse-friendly track”, has “got the hang of making the optimum time near impossible”. This means that a thrilling competition is in store, and the heavy rain that is forecast in the middle of the day could change the leaderboard.

The action starts at 11am local time; follow with live results on www.burghley-horse.co.uk and video action on www.burghley.tv. Please check www.burghley-horse.co.uk for broadcast times.

Use hashtags #FEIClassics #Eventing

By Kate Green

Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials Media Contact:

Carole Pendle
Press Officer
Carole.pendle@caa.com
+44 7768 462601

FEI Media Contact:

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Stage Is Set for a New-Look Badminton

William Fox-Pitt (GBR), pictured here with Oslo at the Mitsubishi Badminton Horse Trials 2013, heads to this year’s event as world Eventing number one and leader of the prestigious FEI Classics™ series. Photo: Kit Houghton/FEI.

Lausanne (SUI), 6 May 2014 – The two leading riders in the FEI Classics™ 2013/2014 go head to head in the fourth leg of the series, the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR), this weekend (8-11 May).

William Fox-Pitt, winner of Pau (FRA) last year and Kentucky (USA) last month, and Christopher Burton (AUS), who triumphed on a catch ride at his home CCI4*, Adelaide (AUS), in November 2013, both have exciting rides at Badminton.

Fox-Pitt, the new world Eventing number one, has a commanding 15-point lead in the FEI Classics™, a series he has won three times before, but there is plenty of time for others to catch up.

He has the choice of three rides at Badminton: Cool Mountain, his 2010 Kentucky winner and world team gold and individual silver medallist, Parklane Hawk, the 2011 Burghley winner, and the striking chestnut stallion Chilli Morning, on which Fox-Pitt won individual bronze at the 2013 FEI European Eventing Championships.

Burton, interestingly, has been reunited with his Adelaide ride, TS Jamaimo, after a group of his owners and supporters clubbed together to buy the 15-year-old thoroughbred for him with this year’s Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in mind.

Burton took on the ride just days before Adelaide when the horse’s former rider, Will Enzinger (AUS), broke his leg. “It’s been a fascinating experience and I feel so lucky,” said Burton, who earlier this spring finished fifth on TS Jamaimo in the CIC3* at Belton (GBR). “He’s a good-looking horse on the flat and a careful jumper. I can’t wait to take him to Badminton.”

Around 85 horses from 14 nations will appear before the Ground Jury at the first horse inspection tomorrow (May 7).

The field includes six former winners: Fox-Pitt (2004); New Zealander Sir Mark Todd (1980, 1994, 1996 and 2011), who rides NZB Campino and Leonidas II; Britain’s Mary King (1992 and 2000), who brings Imperial Cavalier; and Pippa Funnell (2002, 2003, 2005), who has the choice of Billy Beware, Or Noir de la Loge or Redesigned; plus two Australians: Lucinda Fredericks (2007), who rides Flying Finish, and Paul Tapner (2010) with Kilronan.

Andrew Nicholson (NZL) is celebrating 30 years of competing at Badminton. He first appeared here in 1984 when he rode a clear round on Kahlua and earned a place on the New Zealand squad at the Los Angeles Olympics, but this is one of the few events in the world where victory has eluded him. His best result was second in 2004 on Lord Killinghurst.

This could be Nicholson’s year, though. He rides two Spanish-bred geldings, Quimbo, winner of Kentucky last year, and the extraordinarily consistent chestnut Nereo, second at Burghley in 2013.

However, all riders, no matter what their level of Badminton experience, will be facing a new-look Cross Country course. Former six-time winner Lucinda Green has described the track created by FEI Eventing Committee Chairman Giuseppe Della Chiesa (ITA) as “truly magnificent.”

Della Chiesa, only the third Course Designer at Badminton in some 50 years, has used new ground in the Duke of Beaufort’s parkland and has produced new fences, including a water complex. He has also recreated the famous Vicarage Vee fence.

The scene is set for a thrilling and fascinating weekend, and one rider is set to make history in Badminton’s 65th year.

See the full entry list for the fourth leg of the FEI Classics™ at the Mitsubishi Badminton Horse Trials here, and watch live coverage of the Cross Country and Jumping on the FEI’s official video platform FEI TV.

See full standings here.

Prize money

At the end of the FEI Classics™ 2013/2014 season, the five riders with the highest number of points collected across the six FEI Classics™ events will share a total prize fund of US$120,000 split as follows: 1st – US$40,000 (Series Champion); 2nd – US$35,000; 3rd – US$25,000; 4th – US$15,000; 5th – US$5,000.

Join the FEI on Facebook & Twitter.

Our signature Twitter hashtags for this series are #Classics and #Eventing. We encourage you to use them, and if you have space: #FEI Classics™ #Eventing.

The Mitsubishi Badminton Horse Trials Twitter handle is @bhorsetrials and hashtag is #MMBHT.

By Kate Green

Media Contacts:

At Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials:

Julian Seaman
Press Officer
+44 7831 515736
j.seaman2@sky.com
@bhorsetrials #MMBHT

At FEI:

Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
Grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
ruth.grundy@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 45

Burton Claims Adelaide Victory with Catch Ride TS Jamaimo

Christopher Burton made Adelaide history with the catch ride, TS Jamaimo, owned by Stephanie Pearce, when winning the HSBC CCI4*. (Julie Wilson/FEI)

Lausanne (SUI), 17 November 2013 – “It was a bit unexpected,” Christopher Burton said of his history-making victory with Stephanie Pearce’s TS Jamaimo in the HSBC Adelaide CCI4*, second leg of the FEI Classics 2013/2014.

Burton only secured the ride on the Thoroughbred gelding less than a week before the event following the injury to Will Enzinger and created history, certainly in the modern era, by winning a CCI4* event on a catch ride and on a horse that was having its first 4* start. To make the feat even more impressive, the new partnership won on their Dressage score.

With less than a fence separating the top six going into the final Jumping phase, Burton’s masterful clear aboard TS Jamaimo set the standard, which none of those to follow could emulate. “The real glory,” continued Burton, “belongs to Will Enzinger and his team for preparing the horse. Will has been on the phone to me every day; all I had to do was get on. But I have to admit to sitting in my tack room on the morning of cross country day thinking why was I doing this, but I love Adelaide.”

Enzinger, who broke his leg in a fall with a novice horse the week before Adelaide, spent Cross Country day in surgery having his leg operated on.

Beijing team silver medallist, Sonja Johnson was eighth overnight with Rebecca and Simon Bell’s Australian Stock Horse and former polo pony and another CCI4* rookie, Belfast Mojito, but moved up to second with an assured clear round when jumping out of order. “He really stepped up to the mark and I am thrilled, but none of us come here to come second,” declared the sheep farmer from the West. Johnson’s other ride, Nikki Harwood’s former racehorse, Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison, lowered two rails over John Valance’s strong track riding to slip from sixth to eighth.

Johnson was not the only one to feel the agony of the final Jumping phase. Last year’s winners, Craig Barrett and Sandhills Brillaire, looked well on their way to a clear round when the very last fence fell, robbing them of back-to-back Adelaide HSBC CCI4* victories. They finished in third, but with Barrett still declared himself “thrilled with her; I can’t ask much more than that.”

Shane Rose and Taurus slipped from second to fourth place two rails hit the ground, while Rose’s Dressage leader, CP Qualified went from third to seventh place with the addition of eight jumping and two time penalties, but it was a promising performance from another newcomer to four-star competition.

Last to go and much was expected of overnight leaders Stuart Tinney and Pluto Mio. Tinney is an accomplished jumping rider, but the bred to jump gelding slipped to fifth place with the addition of eight jumping and one time penalty.

Former Eventing team selector, Seumas Marwood, moved from 12th after the Dressage phase to sixth overall thanks to a brilliant jumping performance from his Contango II mare, Wild Oats that added only 2.4 Cross Country time faults to their Dressage score. They were also awarded the ATCO Huts Prize for the best Jumping round in today’s final phase.

Soigne Jackson from New South Wales moved from 14th to ninth thanks to a good jumping performance from Gold, a Thoroughbred by Opera Prince. They were delighted with their first ever CCI* performance.

Katja Weimann had a disappointing Jumping round with 12 to add, but still slipped only one place from overnight ninth to complete the top 10 with BP Flamboyant, another pair in their first CCI4*.

Just three – the winners Christopher Burton and TS Jamaimo, Sonja Johnson riding her polo playing Stock Horse, Belfast Mojito, and Seumas Marwood with his Warmblood mare Wild Oats – were clear on the fences and the clock in today’s Jumping. And only the winners finished on their Dressage score, with runners-up Sonja Johnson and Belfast Mojito just shy of that with the addition of 1.2 Cross Country time penalties.

The event enjoyed great competition, beautiful weather and better than ever crowds and all the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 aspirants put in qualifying performances, but the weekend belonged to Christopher Burton and TS Jamaimo, the Adelaide HSBC 2013 champions.

Full results are available here.

YouTube: http://youtu.be/NkKQ9FXo2Tk.

Prize money

At the end of the FEI Classics 2013/2014 season, the five riders with the highest number of points collected across the six FEI Classics events will share a total prize fund of US$120,000 split as follows: 1st – US$40,000 (Series Champion); 2nd – US$35,000; 3rd – US$25,000; 4th – US$15,000; 5th – US$5,000.

HSBC Rankings

The rider at the top of the HSBC Rankings at the end of the 2013 Eventing season will receive a US $50,000 bonus. The winning rider will be announced in December 2013.

Join the FEI on Facebook & Twitter

Our signature twitter hashtags for this series are #Classics and #Eventing. We encourage you to use them, and if you have space: #FEI Classics #Eventing.

By Anna Sharpley

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
Grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Malina Gueorguiev
Manager Media Relations
Email: malina.gueorguiev@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 133

Australians Take Control at Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials

Christopher Burton (AUS) and Holstein Park Leilani take the lead after the first day of Dressage at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials. (Photo: Kit Houghton/FEI).

Lausanne (SUI), 3 May, 2013 – Two members of Australia’s 2012 Olympic team head the leaderboard after the first day of Dressage as anticipation builds at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR), fourth leg of the HSBC FEI Classics.

Christopher Burton (AUS), who proved such a brilliant pathfinder when first out on the course at the London 2012 Olympic Games, scored 43.0 in Badminton’s atmospheric arena to lie a fraction of a penalty ahead of his compatriot, Sam Griffiths on Happy Times.

The pair are also old friends and 31-year-old Burton, who won the Adelaide CCI4* in 2008, was based with Griffiths and his wife Lucy when he first came to England two years ago.

Burton is well known as a talented showman in the Dressage arena. He said of his mount, Jean and Jade Findlay’s 17-year-old warmblood mare, Holstein Park Leilani: “Back at home in Australia, I said ‘this is a Badminton horse’, but I certainly didn’t expect to be in the lead here.

“She’s a lovely mare but not the most extravagant mover, so you have to really ride her. I’m thrilled because I was aiming to score under 45, and so to be in the lead on 43 feels incredible.”

In contrast, Griffiths and the 14-year-old Happy Times are old hands at Badminton, having finished third in 2009 and fourth in 2011. “He’s an experienced campaigner and he’s in good form,” Griffiths said.

“I hope his Dressage mark will hold up, because we’ve got some really good combinations coming up tomorrow, but it means I’m in a good place psychologically.”

This halfway stage of the HSBC FEI Classics season is an opportunity for other riders to get a foothold on the leaderboard, but the current leader Andrew Nicholson (NZL) shows no signs of relinquishing his commanding position without a fight.

He is currently in third place at Badminton on 45.0 on his Burghley winner, the crowd-pleasing grey Avebury, with his Pau winner Nereo to come tomorrow.

Both Nicholson and William Fox-Pitt (GBR), who are head to head in a thrilling battle for the Rolex Grand Slam this weekend, seem to be handling the intense media attention with equanimity.

“I’m not really thinking about the Grand Slam,” admitted Nicholson. “My main objective has always been to win Badminton and it’s been fixed in my mind since last year because I’ve got such a good string of horses at the moment. The Grand Slam is a bit of a dream, but I did go to Kentucky to put myself in contention for it. And, of course,” he laughed, “if I win Badminton, the Grand Slam will fall into place!”

Fox-Pitt is currently only 0.8 of a penalty adrift of Nicholson, in equal fourth place with Ireland’s Aoife Clark on Master Crusoe. His first ride, Oslo, winner of Pau as a precocious nine-year-old in 2011, is owned by a syndicate of 12 owners, the oldest of whom, Delia Cunningham, is 92.

“He’s good at dressage and he’s always on your side, but he can be a bit cheeky,” said Fox-Pitt of the French-bred gelding who spent last year side-lined with an injury.

Olympic champion Michael Jung (GER) made his Badminton debut on Leopin FST and is in sixth place on 46.5 after a customarily well-ridden performance. “It’s very nice to be here,” he said. “The Cross Country has good distances between fences where you can gallop – it’s very different from the Olympics!”

The defending Badminton champion, Sir Mark Todd (NZL), is only in 37th place with a mark of 67.8 on his first ride, Major Milestone, but he is not downhearted.  “He’s not built for dressage and he doesn’t enjoy it. We both just have to get through it because he’s a very good jumper. My ambition with him is to win the Glentrool Trophy! [for the rider who makes the greatest improvement on their Dressage score]”

The footing at Badminton is in perfect condition, and predictions are that quite a few riders will achieve the optimum time, but riders are regarding the fences with great respect.

Nicholson commented: “I thought it was a bit softer at the start until I had a second walk and I’ve realised there are some very tricky fences out there. At the Lake (fence 9), there is a big fence in and really quite difficult 120-degree turn. It’s a proper fence, as it should be at this level.

“The course is pretty decent all the way round. There’s open corners, the Mirage Pond (fence 14) is hard to judge because you’re not sure where you’re going to land, and at the Shogun Hollow (fence 18) there’s a long distance to the third box which will cause difficulty for horses that find it difficult to adjust their strides.”

Badminton has received unprecedented spectator interest this year, and ticket sales are about 10% up on last year, when the event had to be cancelled due to wet weather. There are 84 horses in the field representing 15 nations.

Director Hugh Thomas, who says his Cross Country course is “the strongest it’s been for a while”, said of the line-up: ”For those of us who have been involved in the sport for a long time, to have Fox-Pitt versus Nicholson versus Jung is a tasty dish. However, the reality is that there are actually about 15 combinations here who could win.”

Follow live results: www.badminton-horse.co.uk.

View full standings here.

FEI TV, the FEI’s official video website, will be LIVE for Cross Country (5 May) and Jumping (6 May) at Badminton – see start times on www.feitv.org/live.

Join the FEI on Facebook & Twitter.

Our signature Twitter hashtags for this series are #HSBC and #Eventing. We encourage you to use them, and if you have space: #HSBC FEI Classics #Eventing.

By Kate Green

Mitsubishi Badminton Horse Trials Media Contact:

Julian Seaman
j.seaman2@sky.com
+44 7831 515736

FEI Media Contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
Grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
ruth.grundy@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 45

Burton and Underdiscussion Do the Talking at Pau

Christopher Burton and Underdiscussion, leaders after Dressage with the excellent mark of 34.8 at Les Etoiles de Pau. (Image: Kit Houghton/FEI)

Lausanne (SUI), 26 October 2012 – Christopher Burton, Australia’s latest Eventing star, performed an outstanding Dressage test on Underdiscussion, to sweep into the lead at Les Etoiles de Pau, the first leg of the 2012/2013 HSBC FEI Classics.

After a test that was full of impulsion and expression, Burton was awarded the only 10 of the day, by Ground Jury President Christian Landolt (SUI) for the halt, and heads a strong field with the good score of 34.8.

Burton has 1.0 penalties in hand over the equally exciting young New Zealand competitor Jonathan Paget on Clifton Promise. Both riders are now based in Britain and were pathfinders for their teams at the London Olympic Games, Paget finishing 10th and winning a team bronze medal on the same horse, and Burton finishing 16th overall on Holstein Park Leilani.

Continue reading Burton and Underdiscussion Do the Talking at Pau

Australia’s Christopher Burton Leads Field in Tight Cross Country Finale at HSBC FEI Classics in Pau

Christopher Burton on Holstein Park Leilani in the lead into Jumping at HSBC FEI Classics in Pau. Image: Kit Houghton/FEI

Lausanne (SUI),15 October 2011 – Christopher Burton (AUS) produced a great Cross Country performance on Holstein Park Leilani to keep his Dressage lead at Les Etoiles de Pau (FRA), final leg of the HSBC FEI Classics 2011, but he has no margin for error in tomorrow’s Jumping phase as one fence covers the top eight riders and a nail-biting finale is guaranteed for tomorrow.

William Fox-Pitt (GBR) was masterful in steering all three of his horses around inside the optimum time to finish in the top 10, with the two nine-year-olds, Oslo and Lionheart, second and sixth, and Macchiato ninth.

Clayton Fredericks (AUS), the joint Dressage leader, accrued 1.2 time penalties on Bendigo, the horse competing in his first CCI4*, to drop to third. The Ground Jury took 0.8 penalties off his original score after he protested that a steward raking the ground had forced him to take avoiding action.

Continue reading Australia’s Christopher Burton Leads Field in Tight Cross Country Finale at HSBC FEI Classics in Pau