Tim Price at Vitali have held on to their lead position at the Defender Burghley Horse Trials 2023, producing a slick clear on Derek di Grazia’s cross-country course, adding just eight time faults to yesterday’s dressage score of 18.7.

“Vitali has shown his class again,” said Tim. “He wasn’t as ‘up in front’ of me as he usually is, perhaps due to the lack of a final run at Gatcombe, but he tried very hard and excelled.”

The world number one heads into tomorrow’s showjumping on a score of 26.7.

Oliver Townend and Ballaghmore Class. Credit: Trevor Holt

Oliver Townend and Ballaghmore Class were hot on Tim’s heels with another clear, but weren’t quite fast enough to steal the lead, picking up 2.3 time faults. They now sit in second.

“He makes me feel comfortable and calm and he’s definitely not showing his age [16] – in fact, he was running away with me at the start,” said Oliver of Ballaghmore Class. “He’s my hero and a horse of a lifetime.”

Oliver’s other rides didn’t go as smoothly. Tregilder’s rein broke just as Oliver was trying to make the sharply angled turn to the log after the Irish Horse Board Bank at fence 17 and he retired Swallow Springs, joint second after dressage, after triggering a MIM safety clip at the oxer on top of the Defender Dairy Mound at fence 20.

David Doel and Gelileo Nieuwmoed. Credit: Trevor Holt

David Doel and Gelileo Nieuwmoed jumped an impressive clear inside the time, moving themselves from 25th position to third. He and Wills Oakden were the only riders to attain the optimum time.

“He was lovely and flowing the whole way round,” said David. “I had one or two little moments — he stood on the top of the Irish Bank (17ab) and then we saw a bit of a flyer to the chase fence, but he was still pulling me all the way. I’m dead chuffed with him.”

Wills Oakden and Oughterard Cooley. Credit: Trevor Holt

Wills Oakden and Oughterard Cooley were the first combination to finish the cross-country phase inside the time, earning themselves fourth position.

“I’m not ashamed to admit it, but I was out of control the whole way,” Wills said. “It was a case of pick a spot left or right in whatever gear we were in, he was just relentless.”

Sam Watson and SAP Talisman. Credit: Trevor Holt

Following Wills is Sam Watson and SAP Talisman who produced a bold clear. The Irish rider was just one second over and rose 31 places to fifth.

Harry Meade and Cavalier Crystal. Credit: Trevor Holt

Harry Meade and Cavalier Crystal’s round secured them sixth position, followed by Boyd Martin and Tseterleg in seventh.

Boyd Martin and Tseterleg. Credit: Trevor Holt

Pippa Funnell and Majas Hope. Credit: Trevor Holt

Crowd favourite Pippa Funnell, dual winner of Burghley, and Majas Hope went clear and earnt themselves eighth position.

Harry Meade and Tenareze. Credit: Trevor Holt

Harry Meade achieved a second top 10 placing following the cross-country, securing ninth position with Tenareze.

Wills Oakden and Arklow Puissance. Credit: Trevor Holt

Completing the top 10 before the final day of competition is Wills Oakden and Arklow Puissance. Wills performed his second clear of the day, picking up just 4.4 time penalties with Arklow Puissance.

The eventful day saw European champion Ros Canter, fifth after dressage, fall from Pencos Crown Jewel at the Dairy Mound, Zara Tindall retire Class Affair after a couple of run-outs and Tom McEwen, fourth after dressage, pull up Toledo De Kerser.

Ten Burghley first-timers completed the cross-country course, the best of whom is Grace Taylor, who is in 16th place on Game Changer.

The showjumping kicks off tomorrow (3 September) at 10.45am.

To keep on top of all the action, find out how you can watch the Denfeder Burghley Horse Trials 2023 from home, if you are unable to attend in person, or just want to make sure you watch every round.

Lead image of Tim Price and Vitali by Trevor Holt

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