Even the dressage, quite often a formality at these events, is getting exciting at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. While there are just another 10 left to enter the arena for the first phase there is plenty of opportunity for some more changes to the leader board as there have already been this morning.
Michael Jung and Fischerrocana still sit at the top but have been joined, on exactly the same score, by British favourite William Fox-Pitt and his Burghley debutant Fernhill Pimms. Sir Mark Todd, Sam Griffiths, Tim Price and Frenchman Cedric Lyard have all also helped rearrange the overnight top ten.
The question now is will Jung and his Olympic veteran partner La Biosthethique Sam overtake the leading score and give him the sole lead again? We will know in just 90 minutes.
Meanwhile, while the action has been hotting up in the main arena, ring two is hosting the Dubarry Burghley young event horse finals. This morning was the turn of the best five-year-olds and at the end of the class it was Tiana Coudray who held the Dubarry Boot trophy. The British-based American had a convincing win with her own and Dr Liz Williams’ Irish Sport Horse mare Cavilier Crystal. The pair led from start to finish and along the way was awarded the best score in the jumping phase, as well as the top mark for suitability and potential from final phase judge Jane Holderness Roddam.
Second placed Treworder also looked a top horse in the making, which is just what his breeders, Vin and Elizabeth Jones, had in mind six years ago when they put the mare Welton Lady (a BYEH winner in 1996) in foal to the German eventing stallion Grafenstolz. The 17hand Treworder, who also won the prize for the best British-bred, grew in confidence around the jumping course, a mix of coloured poles followed by cross-country fences, and really showed his mettle with a ground covering gallop in the final phase.
BYEH regular Nicky Roncoroni made the top three again, this time with Monbeg Medlar, another to have been bred in Ireland who gained high marks for conformation and type.
It was a high quality top ten and as Jane Holderness Roddam said after ” I would quite happily have taken any of them home.”
Right now, the four-year-olds are taking centre stage in Ring Two and Michael Jung is warming up Sam. While I know the four-year-old final always attracts a great number of young horse and breeding enthusiasts, I have a feeling that it will be standing room only round the main arena as everyone is becoming riveted by this exciting competition that is unfolding right now.