Australian challenger Sam Griffiths has predicted an endurance test during the critical cross-country phase of this year’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials on Saturday.
The challenge designed by Captain Mark Phillips always ranks among the most demanding on eventing’s world circuit, and 2014-Badminton-winner Griffiths believes this year will be no exception.
“I’ve had a walk around, and I think it is really testing,” said Griffiths, who produced a solid dressage test and mark of 42.5 penalties aboard his Badminton champion Paulank Brockagh.
“There are lots and lots of combinations that could catch you out the whole way around the course, and I also think the going is going to be quite sappy on the horses, so it will be quite an endurance test.
“And some of the jumps are massive, so you are going to need an exceptionally good horse to get round well.”
Griffiths, who also has his tried and tested campaigner Happy Times in the Burghley field, is bidding to join an elite group of riders that have won Badminton and Burghley on the same horse, and he was delighted with Paulank Brockagh’s start to proceedings.
“I was really pleased with the test,” Griffiths added. “Paulank Brockagh was nice and calm, and the horse’s marks are going down and down.
“I love coming to Burghley. It is a beautiful park and house, and it is one that we all want to win. This event is right at the top of my agenda.”
Image: A fence inspired by the Rugby World Cup at Burghley Horse Trials, by Nixon Photos, courtesy of Burghley Horse Trials