Tim Price and Vitali produced a sparkling dressage test earlier today at the Defender Burghley Horse Trials, earning them a score of 18.7 and taking them into the lead at the conclusion of this phase.

“I’ve always known he had a test like that in him, but I can’t quite believe it,” said the world number one. The Kiwi rider described the 13-year-old gelding owned by Joe and Alex Giannamore as a “quirky little horse”, but said today felt like a “good, workman-like test”, and his score exceeded his expectations.

“He has so much potential and today has done what he is truly capable of,” Tim said. “He is a similar horse to Ringwood Sky Boy [2018 Burghley winner] in that he is unconventional but has lots of ability.”

Oliver Townend and Swallow Springs. Image by Trevor Holt

Oliver Townend sits in second and third position with Swallow Springs and Ballaghmor Class, securing matching scores of 24.2 on both horses.

Oliver won Burghley in 2017 with “athletic and powerful” Ballaghmor Class, who he said was a very different ride to “sharp and light” Swallow Springs. He was pleased with his score but said it was all to play for tomorrow.

Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class. Image by Trevor Holt

Behind Oliver in fourth position is Tom McEwen and his Olympic individual silver medal-winning ride, Toledo De Kerser, with a score of 25.6, while Ros Canter and Pencos Crown Jewel sit in fifth on 26.9. America’s Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg TSF are sixth on 28.1. Grace Taylor, who also rides for the USA, made an impressive five-star debut and sits in seventh place with Game Changer on a mark of 28.9.

The cross-country kicks off at 11.15am tomorrow (Saturday 2 September) with Harry Meade, who has three rides, and is in 11th, 21st and 38th places after dressage. 

To keep on top of all the action, find out how you can watch Burghley Horse Trials 2023 here.

Lead image of Tim Price and Vitali by Trevor Holt

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