William Fox Pitt’s Fernhill Pimms made a stunning four star debut at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials to join Germany’s Michael Jung and Fischerrocana FST as the joint overnight leaders going into tomorrows cross country test.
The 11 year old bay gelding owned by Catherine Witt is new to competing at this level but looked like a seasoned pro in the dressage arena. After the test, William said: “I was delighted with Pimms. It’s his first four star and the fact that he coped with the atmosphere is a big step up. You have to admire a horse when they take that challenge. He is a lovely horse to ride. He is very easy, he’s very comfortable, he likes showing off and there is more to come which is exciting.”
William believes Captain Mark Phillips has been very brave with his cross country course design. He commented: “Everybody has their work cut out tomorrow. It is going the other way round which has completely changed the look of it so everybody is starting afresh – in previous years having some experience was a definite advantage. It’s a big step up for my horse and I shall find out a lot about him. I think he is ready for the challenge but you never know until you ask the questions. I came here to put in a good performance and hopefully he’ll show me that he is a good one for the future. I just want him to go well and enjoy himself.”
Michael Jung has two horses in the top ten going into cross country. With La Biosthetique Sam FBW he scored 39.2 to put him in joint seventh. Michael has now broken a record – he is the first person to achieve 30 dressage tests with a score in the 30s. Of his second horse Michael said: “I am very happy with Sam. He was very good in the beginning and then we had a little mistake in the first flying change. But all in all we had a good round.”
Australia’s Sam Griffiths and Happy Times swept into third position with a score of 36.8. The pair have been third here on two occasions. He said: “Happy Times has always been consistent but today he really pulled out all the stops. I was thrilled with how he went. I always knew he could be in the 30s so I was glad to be able to do it today.”
Of the cross country Sam believes it will suit a power jumper. He added: “It’s tough out there. You need a horse with a lot of endurance. I think time is going to be really difficult so you want a bit of blood in the horse. I think the course is one of the toughest I have seen in a long time – you need a special horse to jump around here.”
Great Britain’s Oliver Townend put in a great performance, scoring two tens from the judge at C, with Armada. Their score of 38.7 puts them in joint seventh place with New Zealand’s Tim Price on Ringwood Sky Boy. Burghley first timer Rosalind Canter and Allstar B stay in the top ten after their fantastic performance yesterday.
The top ten combinations after two days of dressage are:
1=; William Fox-Pitt, Fernhill Pimms, 34.2
1=; Michael Jung (GER), Fisherrocana FST, 34.2
3; Sam Griffiths (AUS), Happy Times, 36.8
4; Andrew Hoy (AUS), Rutherglen, 37.8
5=; Oliver Townend, Armada, 38.7
5=; Tim Price (NZL), Ringwood Sky Boy, 38.7
7=; Michael Jung (GER), La Biosthetique Sam FBW, 39.2
7=; Niklas Bschorer (GER), Tom Tom Go 3, 39.2
9; Cedric Lyard, Cadeau Du Roi, 39.6
10; Rosalind Canter, Allstar B, 40.2
Tomorrow’s cross country action starts at 11.00am. The pathfinder will be Oliver Townend on Dromgurrihy Boy. Eventing Worldwide will be keeping you up to date with all the action as it happens.
Photography by HR
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