Australian Christopher Burton has described his Belton International CIC3* triumph aboard Nobilis 18 as “perfect preparation” for next month’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.
Nobilis will make his four-star debut at Badminton from May 5 to 8, and Burton could not have asked for more in terms of fine tuning as he dominated the class from a field of 137 challengers to win by an emphatic margin and lift the prestigious Grantham Cup.
Belton organisers coped admirably with whatever the weather threw at them. A combination of rail, hail, snow and sleet caused some classes to be cancelled on the Saturday, but they got the job done as Burton rounded off a weekend of high-class sport by claiming an emphatic victory.
Nobilis finished on his dressage score of 34.5 penalties afer delivering one of only two cross-country clears inside the time — ninth-placed Oliver Townend and Cillnabradden Evo were the others — to win by a 4.7 margin from France’s Thomas Carlile, riding Quiro Hoy.
Germany’s Bettina Hoy was third with Seigneur Medicott, while Carlile also finished fourth aboard Upsilon, with Ireland’s Aoife Clark and Fernhill Adventure fifth, just ahead of British combination Gemma Tattersall and Chico Bella P.
Burton said: “I am pretty glad we didn’t turn around and go home when it started snowing on Saturday! I am so happy with Nobilis, winning that class out of 137 entries. It was perfect preparation for his four-star debut at Badminton.”
Burton’s win also gave him the second leg of this season’s new Shearwater Insurance Tri-Star Grand Slam (Townend won the first leg at Burnham Market). The Polly Phillipps Memorial Trophy, awarded to the highest placed British rider in the Grantham Cup not eligible to wear a senior flag, went to Lincolnshire’s Ros Canter for her ride on her mother’s Zenshera, who finished on 57.50, adding just 10.80 cross-country time penalties to their dressage score.
Sweden’s in-form Ludwig Svennerstal won CIC2* section L on Master Ping, holding an eight-point margin from Flora Harris and Billy Bandit, with Pippa Funnell and Billy Walk On in third, and section K went to Tim Cheffings (Donateur), with Harris in second place on Monart’s Masterpiece) and Burton in third on TS Jamaimo.
Meanwhile, Townend, who has been in prolific winning form this season, was not to be denied at advanced level, claiming a one-two in section O on Dunbeau and ODT Ghareeb, respectively, with New Zealander Jonelle Price taking section M on the ultra-consistent Classic Moet.
Image: Christopher Burton, by Henry Bucklow/Lazy Photography, CC BY-SA 3.0