On his first visit to Burghley, Germany’s Michael Jung has taken a commanding lead at this year’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials with the first of his two rides, Fischerrocana FST.
The Olympic and European Champion produced a smooth and polished performance with the 11 year old mare owned by Mrs Brigitte and Mr Joachim Jung. The combination have a great four star pedigree having won The Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event earlier this year.
After his test, Michael said: “I think this was nearly the best we can do with the mare on a grass field. The ground was very soft but you had good grip so the horse feels very happy on it. I was very happy with the mare because she was very relaxed and concentrating, very focussed. She was very good to ride and we could do everything we wanted.”
Of the cross country course, which has been described as tough by many of the riders, Michael added: “There are many difficult fences. I think this is a tough four star course but it is very nice. You have a few options – it depends on the horse, the rider, the experience. I think we will have a lot of fun and I am looking forward to riding it.”
At the end of the first day of dressage, the German pairing had a lead of 3.6 penalties over the second placed rider Andrew Hoy and Rutherglen, who scored 37.8. Andrew won the event back in 2004, having first competed here in 1979, also winning on that occasion. Andrew has been working with dressage rider Gareth Hughes on the dressage phase.
He said: “Today I feel the competition has moved on so far from where it was in 2004. All be it is only 11 years ago, the sport is very different. The quality of the dressage has improved enormously. I didn’t see Michael’s or Niklas’ test but I just know the test I rode today was a long way ahead of what I did in 2004.”
Third at the end of the day was another German Niklas Bschorer, the youngest rider in the competition this year, and Tom Tom Go 3, a pairing who were 9th at Luhmuhlen four star earlier this year.
He said: “He did a very good test and I am very pleased with him. He did a very good test at Badminton at the beginning of the year, and there were still a few mistakes in that test which hopefully we’ll sort out over the winter.”
When asked about the cross country he said: “It’s a very big course, there’s plenty to jump out there and gallop. There are quite a few options and it will be interesting to see where the riders go. But I am looking forward to Saturday.”
The highest placed British rider was Burghley debutant – Rosalind Canter riding Caroline Moore’s Allstar B. It was an impressive performance for the combination who are competing at their first four star event. They scored 40.2.
Friday’s dressage starts at 9.30 with Beanie Sturgis riding her own, Jill Lamont’s and Simon Graley’s Lebowski. Second in the arena tomorrow is former Burghley winner Sir Mark Todd (NZL) with Leonardis II. Oliver Townend presents his second ride Samuel Thomas II at 9.54 and wraps up dressage proceedings with Armada at 16.21.
Michael Jung will take to the arena on his second horse La Biosthetique Sam – runner up at Badminton in 2013 – at 15.25. Other notable riders coming forward tomorrow include William Fox Pitt with Fernhill Pimms and Jock Paget with Shady Grey.
Pippa Funnell (Second Supreme), Christopher Burton (TS Jamaimo), Louise Harwood (Whitson), Paul Tapner (Kilronan), Sam Griffiths (Happy Times) and Francis Whittington (Hasty Imp) all come before the judges again with their second horses.
Top 10 – End of Dressage Day 1.
1; Michael Jung, Fischerrocana FST, 34.2
2; Andrew Hoy, Rutherglen, 37.8
3; Nicholas Bschorer, Tom Tom Go 3, 39.2
4; Rosalind Canter, Allstar B, 40.2
5; Christopher Burton, Haruzac, 41.2
6=; Sam Griffiths, Paulank Brockagh, 42.5
6=;Paul Tapner, Vanir Kamira, 42.5
8; Pippa Funnell, Redesigned, 43.0
9; Jodie Amos, Wise Crack, 43.9
10; Georgie Spence, Wii Limbo, 45.4
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Photography by HR
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