Burghley top 10 in pictures: Piggy March leads on mare ‘with so much guts’ after exciting cross-country day

Aimi Clark

Piggy March and Vanir Kamira (above) have taken the lead after an exciting day of cross-country action at Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (3 September).

The pair pulled off the second fastest clear of the day to finish just one second over the 11mins 20secs optimum time and edge into the top spot after the dressage leaders, Kitty King and Vendredi Biats, picked up 11 faults for breaking a mim (safety) clip.

“She knows her job; it’s just a case of me not doing something stupid,” said Piggy of her 17-year-old bay mare. “Burghley is about trusting your instinct, believing in what you’re sat on and I have no reason not to believe in her. She’s mare with so much guts and she owes us nothing.”

New Zealand’s Tim and Jonelle Price have prevented a British stranglehold on the top 10, the husband and wife duo lying second and third respectively.

“I’ve learnt a lot [about Vitali] at the high profile events we’ve done already and this is the first time I’ve got him here relaxed. I hope it could be a nice event for him to take forward to the next step of his career,” said Tim of the horse he only started riding last year.

On the contrary, Jonelle and the 19-year-old mare Classic Moet have been together for many years — including winning Badminton in 2018 — and they were the only combination to finish flags without time-faults to add.

They completed with three seconds to spare — despite the rider’s stopwatch not working — a feat which elevated them 22 places up the leaderboard after dressage.

“I guess flat batteries happen, but you hope not when you’re leaving the startbox at Burghley,” said Jonelle. “It kindly beeped at me for the first three minutes and then I was blind. I guess there’s something to be said for riding in a rhythm, but I had no idea until I crossed the line.”

Scroll down to see pictures of the top 10 in action

1 Piggy March and Vanir Kamira

Piggy March and Vanir Kamira. Photo credit: Trevor Holt

The 2019 Badminton winners — who have finished second at Burghley twice — pulled off a classy clear round to stop the clock one second over the optimum time.

“I’ve sort of learnt Burghley over the years. You can’t have a nice time at any point. You have to be so clever about where you can make up time and I lost it a bit around the Trout Hatchery,” said Piggy.

“[Vanir Kamira] got stuck in two-and-a-half gear and I couldn’t get her into third. I was 12 seconds down at my next minute marker and you don’t really make time up at Burghley, so I let her coast downhill.

“I’m the queen of one second. It drives me mad. Why can’t I just find one more second to sneak in?”

2 Tim Price and Vitali

Tim Price and Vitali. Photo credit: Trevor Holt

Tim and the 12-year-old Vitali, the horse he partnered at last year’s Tokyo Olympics, have set themselves up for a great result here, lying 3.5 penalities behind the overnight leaders, which means Piggy has no fences in hand tomorrow.

“I had a lovely time out there [on the course] and so did he,” said Tim. “Around every corner was a bit of a surprise for us, but he kept rebalancing and kept jumping. I’m thrilled with how he’s come home.”

3 Jonelle Price and Classic Moet

Jonelle Price and Classic Moet. Photo credit: Trevor Holt

Jonelle said that the 30-fence cross-country course, designed for the first time this year by US designer Derek di Grazia, “rode as it walked and I pretty much stuck to my plan.

“I’m very lucky to be sat on [Classic Moet] come Saturday, but not so much on Thursday,” continued Jonelle. “She’s nothing special in terms of scope or stride but she’s full of heart and wants to do the job.

“She lives for Saturday really, the rest is just a necessary evil in her mind. It felt like a tough endurance test to be honest, but she is getting on [at 19 years old] and that maybe played a part.”

4 Tom Jackson and Capels Hollow Drift

Tom Jackson and Capels Hollow Drift. Photo credit: Trevor Holt

Tom climbed into the top 10 from 13th after dressage when bringing Capels Hollow Drift home in a time of 11mins 29secs.

“He went round Badminton really well and now he’s come here and delivered,” said the rider. “The course was gruelling. It was a long climb all the way to the top but then he got a second win and flew home.”

5 Ros Canter and Pencos Crown Jewel

Rosalind Canter and Pencos Crown Jewel. Photo credit: Trevor Holt

Ros and Pencos Crown Jewel finished in a time of 11mins 50secs.

“She’s an absolute bullet, she really is,” said Ros of the 13-year-old mare. “When I was breaking her in and then as a four- and five-year-old I kept thinking I’ll get her to the next level and then that will be it. So I was probably a bit cautious and I’ve taken her a bit slower. I was quite apprehensive today, but she really pulled it out of the bag.”

6 Kitty King and Vendredi Biats

Kitty King and Vendredi Biats. Photo credit: Trevor Holt

The overnight dressage leaders were on great form until they hit the back rail of the first oxer in the Fairfax and Favour Boot Racks combination (19) and broke the safety (mim) clip, incurring 11 penalties.

“I’m gutted for the horse. He was class the whole way and he’s usually so careful, I don’t know if he misread it as a bounce,” said Kitty. “I’m chuffed with him but upset about the pin, because it is expensive, but I can’t be upset with him.”

7 Bubby Upton and Cola III

Bubby Upton and Cola III. Photo credit: Trevor Holt

Bubby and Cola III came home in 11mins 45secs to slot into seventh at this stage. The rider said she was particularly pleased to put the Holland Cooper Leaf Pit (7) — a steep drop down to a double brush followed by a right-hand corner at the top of an incline — behind her.

“There’s nothing else out there on a course like that and it’s not one you can really prepare for, so when that was out of the way I was pretty relieved,” said Bubby. “I’ve never ridden terrain like this and my horse hasn’t ever done terrain like it either, so to go round like he did I’m really proud.”

8 Alice Casburn and Topspin

Alice Casburn and Topspin. Photo credit: Trevor Holt

Alice steered Topspin home in a time of 11mins 37secs.

“He came out a little stronger than I would have liked, but I’m lucky because he is so honest,” said Alice. “When I came round a corner [to a fence] and there wasn’t really a stride there he sorted it out. He jumped big into the Trout Hatchery [fence 10] and I said ‘sorry’, but he just did it.”

9 Pippa Funnell and Majas Hope

Pippa Funnell and Majas Hope. Photo credit: Trevor Holt

Pippa and Majas Hope remain inside the top 10 after a confident clear in a time of 11mins 52secs.

10 Wills Oakden and Oughterard Cooley

Wills Oakden and Oughterard Cooley. Photo credit: Trevor Holt

Lying 26th after dressage, Wills and Oughterard Cooley have moved into the top 10 courtesy of a fast clear that was 25 seconds over the optimum.

‘We learned the terrain would play a part’

From 52 starters, 31 horses passed through the finish flags. Sarah Bullimore retired Corouet, third after dressage, after a run-out in the Leaf Pit while Oliver Townend — who had two horses inside the top 10 after the first phase — crashed out of the reckoning when both of his rides fell.

Swallow Springs, last out of the startbox today when lying fifth, fell in the Trout Hatchery while Tregilder, lying ninth, was unlucky to peck after landing from the wide Parasol Table (29) two from home for instant elimination.

Derek di Grazia, designing at Burghley for the first time, said: “When you start doing this you try to put a course out there that’s to the level. It was great early on because we had some great rounds and it also became clear that the time would be difficult to get. We also learned that the terrain and the way the jumps were one the terrain would play a part.”

Top 10 after cross-country

In the format of: horse name (rider name, nationality) dressage score, cross-country fences, cross-country time = total overnight score

1 Vanir Kamira (Piggy March, GBR) 22.6, 0, 0.4 = 23

2 Vitali (Tim Price, NZL) 21.3, 0, 5.2 = 26.5

3 Classic Moet (Jonelle Price, NZL) 32.2, 0, 0 = 32.2

4 Capels Hollow Drift (Tom Jackson, GBR) 28.9, 0, 3.6 = 32.5

5 Pencos Crown Jewel (Ros Canter, GBR) 24.2, 0, 12 = 36.2

6 Vendredi Biats (Kitty King, GBR) 21.2, 11, 6 = 38.2

7 Cola III (Bubby Upton, GBR) 28.3, 0, 10 = 38.3

8 Topspin (Alice Casburn, GBR) 33.6, 0, 6.8 = 40.4

9 Majas Hope (Pippa Funnell, GBR) 28.2, 0, 12.8 = 41

10 Oughterard Cooley (Wills Oakden, GBR) 32.4, 0, 10 = 42.4

View the full leaderboard here

Profile image of Aimi Clark Aimi Clark


As the editor of Your Horse Online, Aimi oversees all our digital content. She has worked in equestrian media for over 15 years and joined Your Horse as editor in 2017. Aimi has owned and ridden horses all her life. She grew up on a farm in Devon and was a Tetcott & South Tetcott Pony Club member, joining with her first pony — a New Forest called Prudence — before moving on to a Danish Warmblood called Marcus and competing in all activities, but particularly enjoying eventing. She has rehomed and retrained more than 10 ex-racehorses and dabbled in point-to-pointing. There have been plenty of bumps, setbacks and heartache along the way, as well as a lot of fun and many successes. Aimi has two young children and she still loves ex-racehorses. You can often find her hacking her Thoroughbred in the Oxfordshire countryside, flying the flag for Your Horse's #Hack1000Miles challenge.

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