Oliver Townend continued his monopoly of the Burnham Market International Horse Trials in Norfolk by claiming yet another victory at this year’s event.
Having won the headline CIC three-star class eight times in the past, on horses like his 2009 Badminton champion Flint Curtis, Ashdale Cruise Master, Pepper Anne ad Black Tie, the Yorkshireman once again came up trumps, this time aboard Cooley Master Class — and he also finished second on Noteworthy.
The victory gave Townend a dream start to the new Tri-Star Grand Slam series, of which Burnham was the opening competition.
“Cooley Master Class didn’t event last year, but he could have,” Townend said. “I was riding him at home, but we just kept putting it back, and I think the break has done him the world of good. He felt better than ever. I have always believed that he is a very, very good horse.
“The Tri-Star Grand Slam is fantastic to aim for, and I’m lucky to have several horses at the right level, but I will still aim the horses at the best events for them and to suit their major goals for the year.”
The CIC two-star crown at Burnham Market went to Australian Sammi Birch, riding The Court Jester, ahead of runner-up Ludwig Svennerstal on Master Ping, and there was a triumph in the advanced section for Bettina Hoy, riding Designer 10.
This year, though, Burnham Market was perhaps most memorable of all for Britain’s former world-number-one William Fox-Pitt making his competitive comeback following a serious cross-country fall during the World Young Horse Championships in Le Lion-d’Angers last October.
Fox-Pitt rode Cool Mountain and Parklane Hawk at Burnham Market, and he said: “They are both old pros and literally carried me round. I only had to hold on. It was a great relief to finish in one piece and feeling good.”