5-8 September 2024

Burghley image

First Time Fancies

Twelve first-timers will test their mettle at this year’s Defender Burghley Horse Trials, and pick of the bunch on the first day of competition is Emily King, daughter of former winner Mary King.

Thursday, August 31, 2023 - 20:29
Emily King Valmy Biats DBHT 97872

Emily and her ride, Valmy Biats, who is owned by Philippe Brivois and the Valmy Biats Syndicate, delivered a polished performance between the white boards to earn a score of 30, leaving them in third place overnight.

“He did some of the best work he’s ever done in there, but a few little mistakes crept in because I’ve been working hard this year to improve his overall way of going,” said Emily.

After pulling up near the end of the cross-country at Badminton this spring, the duo rerouted to Luhmuhlen CCI5* where they finished 24th. They also finished eighth at Pau CCI5* last autumn.

Of Saturday’s cross-country test, Emily commented: “I walked it with Mum and she looked at me and said, ‘It's actually quite big isn’t it?’ — I'm not sure that was a helpful thing for her to say!”

Six first-timers performed their dressage tests today. The penultimate combination into the arena was Jennie Saville (USA) and FE Lifestyle, who posted a personal best of 31.1 to lie sixth. With solid five-star form, including a fifth at Maryland and 12th at Kentucky, Jennie was hoping for a good start and she said of her Burghley performance: “I’m really happy with Foxy – dressage is the phase he finds hardest, but Philip Dutton, with whom I was based for five years, has helped me a lot.”

Young British rider Greta Mason was delighted with her test on Cooley For Sure, which left her in 11th at the end of day one on a score of 32.2. In fact, the judge at C, Christian Steiner, had her in sixth. “That score was around about what I’d hoped for – and thank goodness I didn't make any major mistakes,” she said.

Next on the first timers’ leaderboard is Holly Richardson (GBR), who rides Bally Louis and currently sits in 23rd place.

“He gets quite hot, but he stayed with me today,” said Holly. “I’m surprised he coped so well with the atmosphere — I'm a bit overwhelmed to be honest, but it’s so exciting to be here.”

Having finished 11th at Badminton this year, Frenchman Luc Chateau was disappointed with his performance here on Viens Du Mont. He made two errors of course which proved expensive, costing him two penalties each time. “I'm happy with my horse, the problem was me,” he rued. “I lost concentration and made mistakes.”

Currently languishing at the bottom of the leaderboard is Lauren Innes (NZL), whose Dutch-bred 13- year-old Global Fision M is not a fan of the white boards. Fortunately for Lauren, the horse is a good jumper — the pair has twice completed Badminton — and Burghley is never a dressage competition.

“He doesn’t like doing dressage on grass, but I brought him here because he is such a good cross-country horse,” said Lauren.