Kitty King and her European team gold medal-winning Vendredi Biats (pictured above and below right) dazzled in the main arena at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials today (2 September) to earn the top spot on the leader board after two days of dressage.

Kitty King and Vendredi Biats lead after dressage. Credit: Trevor Holt

It has been an exciting phase for British riders, who have filled nine of the top 10 spots ahead of tomorrow’s cross-country phase. Only seven penalties separate the top 10, which means time-faults accrued around tomorrow’s 30-fence track, designed for the first time by USA designer Derek di Grazia, will be influential.

“I don’t really know what to say to be honest. We’ve come here with a point to prove and I was really hoping that he would perform and produce the work that I know he can do,” said Kitty, who scored 21.2.

“He got a bit behind my leg for the last change and then he did his little tail slap, which is what he used to do as a young horse and then buck, so I was like ‘don’t you dare!’ I was relieved that he kept control and he was just brilliant in there.”

The rider added that the 13-year-old grey’s warm-up wasn’t the easiest, as he kept tripping over.

“Every time he tripped he would leap in the air all upset with himself,” she said. “I was like, ‘just pick your feet up — that’s your job!

Tim Price and Vitali lie second overnight. Photo credit: Trevor Holt

“You’re not a puppet on strings, I can’t pick each one up for you, so do your job’. He did in the arena, so that’s all you can ask.”

‘He goes into black horse mode’

New Zealand’s Tim Price and his second ride, the 12-year-old Vitali, are just 0.1 a penalty behind in the runner-up spot at this stage.

“He was very rideable,” said Tim. “When he goes into his black horse mode, which is when he loses focus, it’s there right through the warm-up.

“Normally when he warms in like that he goes in and delivers, so I’m glad he did that here with such a big stage to put him off his game. He stayed with me and he was good fun.”

Thursday’s overnight leaders, Sarah Bullimore and Corouet — the duo impressed despite the British rider having a knee injury — hold on to third place, ahead of Piggy March and Vanir Kamira.

Sarah Bullimore and Corouet are third ahead of Saturday’s cross-country. Photo credit: Trevor Holt

Oliver Townend has slotted into fifth with the 14-year-old grey Swallow Springs, a former ride of Andrew Nicholson, who has retired from top-level eventing.

“There’s still more to come I think, but every international run we’ve done we’re getting better and hopefully there’s still more progression,” said Oliver.

Ros Canter described her ride Pencos Crown Jewel, who lies sixth at this stage, as “such a little trier”.

“She’s a bit croup high so bodily she finds it quite difficult,” explained Ros. “She just nails it every time in terms of effort. If there was a gold star for effort, she’d win it every time.”

The four British riders that round off the top 10 are Tom McEwen (CHF Cooliser), seventh, Pippa Funnell’s Billy Walk On and Majas Hope, eighth and 10th respectively, and Oliver Townend’s Tregilder, ninth.

Tim Price and Bango are expected to be first out on the course tomorrow at 11.30am. If you can’t attend the event in person, find out how to watch the action live.

Top 10 after dressage

Piggy March and Vanir Kamira lie fourth. Photo credit: Trevor Holt

View the full overnight leaderboard here.

1 Vendredi Biats (Kitty King, GBR) 21.2

2 Vitali (Tim Price, NZL) 21.3

3 Corouet (Sarah Bullimore, GBR) 22.5

4 Vanir Kamira (Piggy March, GBR) 22.6

5 Swallow Springs (Oliver Townend, GBR) 23.6

6 Pencos Crown Jewel (Ros Canter, GBR) 24.2

7 CHF Cooliser (Tom McEwen, GBR) 25.6

8 Billy Walk On (Pippa Funnell, GBR) 26.2

9 Tregilder (Oliver Townend, GBR) 27.5

Oliver Townend and Swallow Springs, fifth after dressage. Photo credit: Trevor Holt

10 Majas Hope (Pippa Funnell, GBR) 28.2

View the full overnight leaderboard here.

All images: copyright Trevor Holt

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