As ever at Burghley, there were major thrills and spills. Some riders somehow managed to make it look pretty easy, others had dramas and, occasionally, disasters. There were ten retirements and thirteen eliminations (four Unseated Riders, five Horse Falls, two Accumulated Refusals) from sixty-three xc starters, and thirty-four clear rounds.
Of those in the top 10 after dressage, only Andrew Hoy (5th) and Aoife Clark (7th) didn’t make it to the finish, Aoife after a fall at the Stamford Station (she is reported to have hurt her shoulder) and Andrew after pulling up because he felt Rutherglen did not feel quite right.
Allison Springer (6th after dressage) had one run out but otherwise a good round, and three riders (Louise Harwood, Clare Lewis, Sarah Bullimore) were given 21 penalties for breaking a frangible pin.
Gemma Tattersall pulled up to 8th from 27th with a good clear and 11.2 time penalties, the 4= fastest of the day.
William Fox-Pitt had to work quite hard for his clear with Bay My Hero, and his 20.8 time penalties dropped him from 2nd to 8th.
Sam Griffiths was held on course twice, for an extremely long time (I heard ’45 minutes total’), first after a frangible pin broke, and then, when they let Gina Ruck carry on past him before restarting him, when she had a crashing fall. His 9.6 time penalties was the 3rd fastest time of the day, behind Oliver Townend (6.8, up to 3rd) and leader Andrew Nicholson, who, last of the day, cruised round for only 5.6 time pens to take the lead, and said at the Press Conference “I went perhaps a little quieter than I normally would.”
Oliver Townend said that he was surprised how quickly he ended up behind time “especially after I had a bit of a wiggle at the Trout Hatchery” and “I went as fast as I dared”. Armada left a leg there and things got a bit dramatic (“I thought I was back on Flint Curtis”) but Oliver sat tight and they stayed clear.
The only other British riders (other than Ollie) in the top 10 are Izzy Taylor in 5th, who looked as accomplished as ever cross-country, and William Fox-Pitt, 6th, who was held before the Burghley station, hopped off, led Bay My Hero up the hill as the Steward sponged him down, used the back bar of the parallel at Capability’s Cutting as an impromptu mounting block, and then, having been given the go-ahead, cruised down the hill and jumped the Station in cold blood, as impeccably as always. Hannah-Sue Burnett flies the flag for the USA as their sole rider in the top ten, in 7th.
Andrew Nicholson has less than a fence in hand over second placed Sam Griffiths, who is bidding for the next leg of the lucrative Rolex Grand Slam, as they go forward to the show jumping tomorrow.