Sarah Wells-Gaston

Records broken at Burgham

Burgham International Horse a Trials proved to be a record-breaking event, as the first international competition in this year’s Covid-19 affected UK fixture list attracted a high number of top-class riders amongst the exceptionally large number of entries.

Prior to the event, organisers had agreed with British Eventing and the riders concerned that the small group who competed at the event at Haras du Pin, France last weekend and who were due to compete at Burgham would not do so.

Izzy Taylor was the first rider to set the record book alight as her dressage score of 21.2 with Monkeying Around in CCI4*-S Section M was confirmed to beat the previous record of 22.4, set by Gemma Tattersall and Chico Bella P in 2015. Nine-year-old Monkeying Around, who is owned by Taylor and Mark Sartori, won the six-year-old class at the young horse world championships at Le Lion d’Angers in 2017, and at that point in the competition it put them 6.3 penalties ahead of the field.

Taylor commented of the score: “He’s getting stronger and more rideable, so I can be a bit ‘braver’ in the arena on him, and there’s still loads more to come from him.

The quality of the competition continued on the second day of dressage, with the dressage record being broken twice more. First up to do so was Laura Collett riding London 52 who scored 20.3 in CCI4*-S Section M. Next came the reigning World Champions, Ros Canter and Allstar B, who achieved a stunning mark of 19.7 to take the lead in CCI4*-S section M.

Canter, who owns Allstar B with Caroline Moore, said: “I’m really happy with him. We haven’t done a lot since the World Equestrian Games so it’s quite a long time now. I was probably more nervous than him – I feel the pressure on Albie but he was really good.”

Allstar B showed his class on the cross country, adding just 0.8 time faults (adding to the 1.2 time faults in the show jumping, to give Canter victory on a score of 21.7. She said: “What a legend Albie [Allstar B] is. I felt a huge amount of pressure this week, but he was on fire in every phase.”

It was however the narrowest of winning margins, as Piggy March completed on her dressage score of 21.8 in second place on Brookfield Inocent, while Izzy Taylor and Monkeying Around were third (23.2).

Canter also picked up victory in CCI2*-L Section N on seven-year-old Izilot DHI, whom she owns with Alex Moody. “He’s pure class,” she said. “He’s one of the most talented horses I have ever sat on. For this job, I think he has everything.” Laura Collett took second with Moonlight Charmer with Georgie Strange rounding out the top three with Darcy De La Rose.

World number one Oliver Townend set his own world records at Burgham for the highest number of international eventing classes ever won at a single event in the modern era.

With his 2017 Burghley winner Ballaghmor Class, Townend topped CCI4*-S Section L, a class the pair won two years ago. The pair finished on a final score of 24.2, having led throughout the competition.

“He’s as good as he’s ever been, if not better,” said Townend. “I didn’t come here with the aim of winning this with him; if he was in the position to win, we’d let him, and the ground was beautiful and it was a very high-quality field. He cruised round and made it all feel very easy. It was all very much within his comfort zone.”

Second in CCI4*-S Section L were Laura Collett and Mr Bass, winners of this class in 2017. The pair added nothing to their dressage mark of 25.8 and finished 3.1 penalties ahead of Sarah Bullimore and Reve Du Rouet.

Townsend also dominated the CCI3*-S classes as he broke new ground, winning Section J on Cillnabradden Evo and Section K on Miss Cooley. This was topped off with victory in CCI2*S Section P with Cooley Rosalent.

Of his record-breaking feat he said: “I’ve had a fantastic week at Burgham, which has always been one of my favourite events. All the horses have gone exceptionally well; to win four classes is a lovely bonus, but the important thing is that they all felt great, were comfortably within themselves and enjoyed the good ground. Cooley Rosalent is a mare I have always thought a lot of and is a very exciting prospect for the future.”

Kitty King was the final international winner, topping CCI2*-S wither Monbeg Hendricks.

Alongside the international competitions were a host of domestic classes from BE100 to Open Intermediate. Archie Smith Maxwell picked up first and second in the Open Novice Under 18 Section D. His win came with Master Ping with Akolien in second.

Kirsty Hetherington and Rock N Roll Star were the victors in BE100 Section S. Kirtsy rides Roly for Laura Dewesselow and Jack Thomas Watson.

She told Eventing Worldwide:

“He came over from Ireland at the back end of last year, as a very green five-year-old but with a fabulous raw jump. We have worked really hard to get all his basics established and I’ve done lots of online dressage throughout lockdown – he couldn’t even canter round the outside of the arena when he came. He has really come into his own since the season restarted; he is an absolute pleasure to do and to ride. I’m so pleased with how he is progressing as he tries hard for his rider. He has had some other great runs so it’s really rewarding to get the win on him. He is sadly looking for a new home but he is entered for Richmond BE100 and if he is still with us we will be looking to run him at Novice after that. My own young horse also completed his first 2* with a fabulous double clear which is very exciting for the future.”

Event Director Martyn Johnson said: “We have seen absolutely top-class competition at Burgham this week. We received a huge number of entries and it has been a considerable challenge to accommodate them but we were determined to put on a great show. It hasn’t been easy to put on such a large international event in the current circumstances, but the team have worked extremely hard to make sure everything has been as safe and enjoyable as possible for everyone attending.”

Other section results: Novice Section A Matthew Wright, Freya; Novice Section B Lucinda Mesquita, Jandine; Open Novice Section C Ian Stark, Chatsworth Diamond; Open Intermediate Section E Samantha Lissington, Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ; Intermediate Section F Tom Jackson, Ask For Manchier; Intermediate Section G Will Murray, Crosstown Sir Lancelot; BE100 Section I Lucy Hixson, Copperhall Barney; BE100 Section H Toots Bartlett, Extasy SR Z; Five-Year-Old Section O Mark Davidson, Cooley Anything You Like; BE100 Section R Katie Magee, Ditch Dancer; Section T Laura Fenwick, Manakin.

Images courtesy of Rupert Gibson Photography

Read Previous

Le Grand Complet – Haras Du Pain (FRA)

Read Next

How Harriet Colderick Is Building Her Eventing Career..