After a brief downpour on Thursday evening gave Burghley Park a soaking it didn’t really need, it was dry overnight, and Friday morning we were back to glorious sunshine to dry the turf out again, we hope.
Glengarnock with Paul Sims was the first of the morning session to trouble the top ten, their smart test slotting them into equal 6th place at that point (with Tim Price and Xavier Faer) on 46.5. Zara Tindall’s High Kingdom looked as though he knows exactly where he is and what is coming tomorrow, and his tension made things difficult for them both, handicapping their score down to 51.6.
Burghley Débutante Sophie Brown had Wil travelling very nicely, perhaps lacking a little impulsion, but their last two flying changes were absolutely beautiful, unlike many combinations’, for 50.4.
Izzy Taylor had Trevidden in great balance and poise, their good marks were well deserved and they went into the top ten on 45.6, and eventual 12th overnight.
Lauren Kieffer and Veronica looked fantastic going around the arena before their test, scored 7,7,9 for the first movement, and lots of very good marks followed in a beautifully executed test. The first flying change was true but very high in front, the second better, and every one was clean. This elegant mare has lovely paces and the test was perfectly presented, a total pleasure to watch. The mare is a bigger mover than La Biosthetique Sam so is always going to get the higher marks if everything else is spot on!
After the Coffee Break, Lynn Symansky and Donner looked good, performing a very neat test, although an error of course in the left shoulder-in was a bit perplexing, she circled to do it again almost as if she’d forgotten she was doing a test! The halt and rein back were particularly good, and the changes all flowed and were clean. 45.5 and eventually 11th overnight.
Piggy French and Vanir Kamira looked good together, the mare settled and responsive. They earned good scores and a final score of 43.7, in 4th at that point, and 9th at end of day.
Andrew Nicholson and Nereo looked from the start as though they would trouble the top of the leaderboard. Nereo looked tight in the neck at times and didn’t didn’t flow into the changes, pegging their marks slightly, to earn them 39.6 and into eventual 4th place, 0.6 penalties behind Michael Jung.
There’s usually at least one horse who flips its lid in the Burghley atmosphere, and today it was the last one before Lunch, Cossan Lad, who looked as if Dressage was the very last thing on his mind, and that zooming off through the start flags and getting on with it would be far more to his liking, giving poor Kirsty Short an absolutely impossible task… she did well to keep him inside the white boards today! Hopefully he will make up for today’s naughtiness tomorrow out on the testing track.
The first in for the final session after Lunch was Sir Mark Todd with Leonidas II, and their beautifully polished performance put them into the lead, on 36.7. Caroline Powell had Onwards and Upwards nicely settled until he clearly anticipated the second change, dragging their marks down, but she got him settled again and rescued the situation, so the next two were both clean. Their 49.5 is a frustrating score for a combination of their calibre.
Olivia Craddock, another Burghley first timer, had Billy Liffy going beautifully, to trouble the big names at the top and slot into 7th at that point with 45.4. She finished the day in 10th place, the only non Big Name up there, all credit to her.
Tim Price and Ringwood Sky Boy looked great warming up but their first halt wasn’t established and so they got off to a slightly shaky start marks-wise. Composure was restored and they nailed a 41.3 for 7th overnight.
Tina Cook and Calvino II produced a very smooth test to earn lots of good marks, and she looked delighted with him at the end, for 39.6 into 5th place overnight, and best of the Brits.
Last to go Oliver Townend looked delighted at the end of the lovely smooth and balanced test that he did with Ballaghmor Class, the changes in particular were highlights.
It’s tight at the top, with only a few penalties separating the top 5. With a testing XC course waiting, and the ground probably likely to cut up, I think we will see a proper leaderboard shake-up and not very many fast clears tomorrow.
Scoreboard at end of Day Two of the Dressage.
The Press Conference.
Sir Mark Todd, talking about Leonidas II:
“I think honestly he’s finally just starting to grow up, he’s always shown ability that he could do a really smart test but so far up till now it’s been spoilt by little mistakes. We went in today and he lit up a little bit but at no stage did I think he was going to get away from me, it felt mistake free.”
When asked about the terrain and whether time is likely to be a factor tomorrow.
“It’s always a factor here, if we don’t get any more rain the going is perfect, it won’t slow us down, if anything it’s a bit more technical, a bit more galloping than it was last year.”
How did the atmosphere compare with Rolex and Rio?
“Rolex – at Rolex it kind of creates more atmosphere, it’s in a bowl.”
Of Veronica: “She knows when it’s a bigger stage and does a better test at 3 days.”
As a first timer:
A lot of Americans are sitting on Thoroughbreds so they’re pretty happy tonight. I have watched and studied it for years, watched Burghley.tv replays all the time, Burghley is in a class of its own, we know that and we respect it. I’m expecting a different feeling than other three days, I’ve never jumped around it, but it’s a good mare, and hopefully we’ll have a good day.”
I know how meticulous and careful you are with your planning, you’ve walked the course again, any changes in your strategies or plans for tomorrow?
“Not really. I think the course is very clear, it’s nicely built, a very big tough course, and the biggest problem will be the condition of the horse I think, you need a very strong horse at Burghley I think.
The ground and the weather looks very good at the moment, I hope it will be the same tomorrow. At the moment I am happy.”