5-8 September 2024

Burghley image

Debutant dreams and disappointments

The horseboxes of this year's first-timer brigade will be exuding very different emotions tonight.

Saturday, September 03, 2022 - 17:39
Tom Jackson Capels Hollow Drift LRBHT PN22 41190

Tom Jackson (GBR) has the most to celebrate. Thirteenth overnight after Capels Hollow Drift scored 28.9 for his dressage, a lovely cross-country clear just nine seconds over the optimum time saw the pair move up to fourth place.

“I'm over the moon! He went really well at Badminton in the spring, and even better today,” said a delighted Tom. “It was hard work out there, but he got his second wind at the top of the course and then flew home.” Asked if being held on course was a benefit or a hindrance [he was held when Sammi Birch had a horse fall at fence 19], Tom said: “It's six of one and half a dozen of the other really. We were in a nice rhythm which was broken, but it gave me an opportunity to get some air back in his lungs, so it's hard to say. I just know that I'm super proud!”

Bubby Upton (GBR) quashed her Badminton demons in style, Cola III moving up from 11th after dressage to seventh after a clear cross country with 10 time penalties. “He was phenominal, a class act,” she said after her round. “After the disappointment I had at Badminton [jumping clear, the pair had a refusal at the very last fence] I am going to enjoy every moment of today.

“I actually watched my Badminton round before I set out here, to remind myself that we could do it. For me, the Leaf Pit (fence 7) was the most challenging combination because it's a fence you can't prepare for. Once we were through there I thought 'Game on!' I'm so relieved he got the result he deserved today.”

Norfolk-based Alice Casburn (GBR), our youngest competitor this year, stormed up the leaderboard. The 20-year-old was 30th after dressage on her homebred Topspin, but now sits one place behind Bubby in eighth after a cross-country clear 17 seconds over the optimum time.

“He was incredible! You are never going to have the perfect stride to every fence here but he tries so hard for me and has such a big heart. If I get him to a fence, he tries to get over it,” Alice explained. “To be riding round here with my idols is pretty special.”

Another debutant with a big smile on his face was Wills Oakden (GBR) who rode Oughterard Cooley to a clear round, adding 10 time penalties to his 32.4 dressage score and moving from 26th up to 10th.

“It was tough out there but he kept gritting his teeth and jumping. I'd planned to take a long route at the Leaf Pit but he leapt off the drop faster than I wanted and we had to go straight – I'm so proud of him,” Wills enthused.

American rider Cornelia Dorr was languishing in 50th place at the end of the dressage (out of 52 starters), but her clear round on Daytona Beach 8 has propelled her up to 16th. A beaming Cornelia said: “What a partner, she picked up where I didnt. It was really fun, I think I smiled the whole way round!”

Another climber was Ireland's Cathal Daniels, up from 29th to 17th on Rioghan Rua, while fellow Irish rider Padraig McCarthy on HHS Noble Call climbed from 45th to 20th place.

Three more first-timers posted that all-important clear round. Sarah Clark (AUS) and Emily Hamel (USA) collected over thirty time penalties apiece to move up to 22nd and 23rd respectively, but possibly the most elated rider today was local rider Phil Brown. He may have taken numerous long routes and clocked up 62 time penalties but nothing was going to dampen his delight.

“I'm a sweating, screaming, crying mess and absolutely ecstatic! This is incredible!

“I'd always planned to go long at the Leaf Pit (7) and was in two minds about the Defender Valley (8) but did go long given how much trouble it had caused. I hadn't planned to go long at the Trout Hatchery (10), but by then my goal was just to get home.”

For the remaining first-timers clear rounds eluded them. Kristina Hall-Jackson (GBR) on CMS Google, and Hollie Swain (NZL) riding Solo added 20 jumping and numerous time penalties to their scores, Kate Shapland 40 jumping plus time – Kate has already withdrawn from the competition.

Retiring on course was Felicity Collins (RHS Contend OR), while Susie Berry (Ringwood LB), Danielle Dunn (Grandslam), Woods Baughman (C'est La Vie 135) and Harry Mutch (HD Bronze) were eliminated.