5-8 September 2024

Burghley image

Piggy Marches Into The Lead

Piggy March (GBR) and Trevor Dickens’ Vanir Kamira are the new leaders at Defender Burghley Horse Trials at the end of today’s cross-country phase.

Saturday, September 03, 2022 - 17:51
Piggy March Vanir Kamira LRBHT PN22 41189

The pair added just .4 of a penalty for coming home one second over the cross-country optimum time to complete on 23.0. Tim Price (NZL) and Joe and Alex Giannamore’s Vitali lie second on 26.5 with Tim’s wife Jonelle riding her own and Trisha and Sophie Rickards’ Classic Moet third on 32.2.

“She’s so classy,” said a delighted Piggy after her round. “She felt brilliant and was really up for it today – she’s a very special little mare. I’m annoyed with the time penalty to be honest – I’m the Queen of being one second over the time, I don’t know how I do it!”

Like all riders who made it to the finish, Piggy said Derek Di Grazia’s course was tough but fair:

“I was about 12 seconds down on the time at the Trout Hatchery,” she admitted, “and she wasn’t really moving on but she filled up her lungs coming down Winners Avenue, put her head down and just flew home.”

Tim Price and Vitali retained the second place they held after dressage adding 5.2 cross-country time penalties to their first phase score to finish the day on 26.5. Tim was pleasantly surprised by how well the horse performed today given that this is only his second 5* event:

“That was pretty cool – he’s not a Thoroughbred but he’s a good stayer and he fought and fought the whole way round,” he said. “It was a big, intense and twisty course, particularly the first four to five minutes but I thought it was fantastic.”

At the ripe old age of 19, Classic Moet was the only horse to complete the course within the optimum time, an achievement which elevated them up the leaderboard from 25th after dressage. This was despite Jonelle Price’s watch stopping at around the three-minute mark:

“I had no idea what the time was when we crossed the line,” she confessed, “but I know she’s quick so I just let her run in the rhythm she wanted. All I could do was to keep her balanced and be economical with our lines where I could. She’s such a tough and gritty little mare – there’s no-one else I would have rather been sat on today.”

The cross-country track caused its fair share of problems for both experienced combinations and first-timers but, equally, the remaining field of 31 comprises both.

Fourth-placed Tom Jackson (GBR) and Capels Hollow Drift moved up the leaderboard from 13th after dressage following a fantastic round for just 3.6 time penalties. This is the combination’s Burghley debut:

“That was amazing,” he said. “You work hard and put in the long hours for days like this. Everything went to plan other than at the Trout Hatchery where I saw a long stride in and then had to adjust. It was a hard track and I’m super proud of how he coped.”

Ros Canter (GBR) and Pencos Crown Jewel (AKA Jasmine) added 12 time penalties to their dressage score to move up into fifth on 36.2. Ros has produced Jasmine since backing her as a three-year-old and is naturally protective of her, particularly as she is quite shy and doesn’t much like crowds:

“I can’t tell you how amazing she was,” said Ros. “She exceeded all my expectations today, despite me being a bit cautious in a couple of places to ensure she remained balanced.”

Dressage leaders Kitty King (GBR) and Vendredi Biats now lie sixth on 38.2 having picked up time faults and 11 penalties for activating a Mim Pin (a safety device designed to help reduce falls) at fence 19. Burghley first-timers Bubby Upton (Cola III) and Alice Casburn (Topspin) occupy seventh and eight places respectively and 2019 winner Pippa Funnell is ninth with Majas Hope. Wills Oakden and Oughterard Cooley complete the top ten on 42.4.

With less than four penalties (the equivalent of one show jumping rail down) between the top two there’s still all to play for in tomorrow’s final phase. The action starts with the second horse inspection at 0900 in the main arena.