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2nd Sep: Todd Takes Pole Position at Burghley
Published: 01 Sep 2017 - - Author: Newsroom


Sir Mark Todd and Leonidas II are leading the pack at the end of the dressage at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in the UK this morning.

The Kiwi combo’s foot-perfect effort saw them score 36.7 penalty points, just .3 ahead of Lauren Kieffer (USA) aboard Veronica II on 37, Michael Jung (GER) aboard La Biosthetique Sam FBW on 38.9 and Andrew Nicholson on his Badminton winner Nereo on 39.5.

Tim Price and Ringwood Sky Boy sit in sixth place on 41.3, and he is also 17th equal with Xavier Faer on 46.5. Caroline Powell and Onwards and Upwards scored 49.5 to sit in 27th with Nicholson and Qwanza right behind them on 49.6. Powell is also in 44th with Spice Sensation on 55.7.

But the day belonged to Todd – a five time winner at Burghley who first competed at the world famous event nearly 40 years ago. His last win at the four star competition was in 1999 and he’d love nothing more than another victory there.

“I may have won Burghley five times, but I haven’t won it this century,” he said. “Finally this horse is starting to grow up. When I got him as a six-year-old he was so impetuous, but now he knows what he’s meant to do and I’ve got every confidence in him.”

Todd felt today was one of the best tests Leonidas II had done, and he’s now looking forward to the Captain Mark Phillips-designed cross country.

“Burghley is always Burghley. It is big. I would say he has maybe made it a little less technical than last year but you would be very foolish to take it cheaply,” said Todd, who plans to take all the direct routes.

Nicholson, who is also a five-time winner at Burghley, has a similar game plan for his two mounts.

“I will start off positively and ride according to plan,” he said. “My main plan is to go direct everywhere. Once you start going long ways you can mount up an awful lot of time faults.”

He was pleased with his “very reliable” Spanish gelding Nereo.

“He is a pleasure to ride in there.”

Tim Price also has two on the card and is confident both will give a good showing.

“It is a three-phase game here,” he said. “I think these horses are both all-rounders. They are not out and out dressage horses, so they have both done their optimum work (with their dressage) and that is the best I can expect from them. I think they could both be well in touch with a good result with a couple of good days ahead of them.”

Caroline Powell is predicting the hard and fast conditions will see a few come home “pretty close to the time”.

“I think it is going to jump big and it will have its problems,” she says. “You go clear and inside time and you will be sitting in a better spot. It is never a dressage competition here.”

For results and times, head to http://www.bdwp.co.uk/bur/17/

For more information, head to http://www.burghley-horse.co.uk/

For livestreaming, follow The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials Official Page on Facebook

The horse details –

Nereo (owned by Libby Sellar), Qwanza (owned by Mark and Rosemary Barlow and Andrew Nicholson), Leonidas II (owned by Diane Brunsden, Peter Cattell and Sir Mark Todd), Ringwood Sky Boy (owned by Robert Taylor, Varenna Allen, Tim Price and selwood.com), Xavier Faer (owned by Trisha Rickards, Nigella Hall and Tim Price), Onwards and Upwards (owned by Cameron and Mary Crawford and Caroline Powell), Spice Sensation (owned by Claire and Michael Hunter and Caroline Powell). 

- By Diana Dobson, ESNZ High Performance Media Liaison

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