Predictions are that one of the riders from ‘Down Under’ will be victorious in the final leg of the FEI Classics™ 2015/2016 at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR) this week.
Four New Zealanders have won the Burghley trophy 13 times between them since Sir Mark Todd won in 1987. Mark Todd, who rides NZB Campino, and Andrew Nicholson (Nereo and Qwanza), another five-time Burghley winner, probably understand the challenging nature of Burghley’s parkland better than anyone else. Victory for either of them would be great for their supporters, but there’s also former winners Blyth Tait (Bear Necessity V) and Caroline Powell (Onwards and Upwards) to consider, plus the 2015 runner-up Tim Price (Ringwood Sky Boy and Bango) and his wife Jonelle (Classic Moet).
Andrew Hoy (Rutherglen and The Blue Frontier), whose two triumphs were 25 years apart (in 1979 and 2004), is the only former Australian winner in the competition (the other was Lucinda Fredericks), but Olympic team bronze medallist Christopher Burton (Nobilis 18) has been the in-form rider this year and starred at Burghley 2015 in third and fourth places.
However, none of them can catch Olympic champion Michael Jung (GER), the runaway leader of the FEI Classics™, but several riders are closely bunched in the race to secure the cash prizes on offer.
Eight nations are represented in the field, but it’s the British who will perhaps be the most anxious to seize the trophy back since William Fox-Pitt won it in 2011. British contenders this year include Olympic team member and 2003 winner Pippa Funnell (Second Supreme), 2009 winner Oliver Townend (MHS King Joules and Dromgurrihy Blue) and Kristina Cook (Star Witness).