Townend trio poised after dressage test at Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials

Yahoo Sport UK
Oliver Townend is sitting pretty at Burghley. Pic: Peter Nixon
Oliver Townend is sitting pretty at Burghley. Pic: Peter Nixon

Reigning champion Oliver Townend has reason to be pleased after all three horses he is riding in this year’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials finished in the top seven after the dressage.

The second day of action at Burghley Hose, near Stamford, saw the world number one take to the ring with Cooley SRS and last year’s winning horse, Ballaghmoor Class.

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Cooley is seventh, with Ballaghmoor Class fifth, neither matching Townend’s first-day effort atop MHS King Joules, which led overnight and is now third.

Going into Saturday’s cross-country action, the world number one is remaining philosophical about the chances of all three of his mounts, insisting he is taking things one step at a time.

“Hopefully I’ll get myself and horses around well and safely in the cross-country and get to the end and through the flags as quick as possible,” he said.

“We’ll keep it simple – I’ve had two walks with another two to go and hopefully we’ll have another plan going into tomorrow.

“We’re one and a bit off the lead and it’s certainly not a dressage competition. I was thrilled with Ballaghmoor Class’ performance and he’s been in some big atmospheres from very quickly recently.

“For him to go in there and keep level and look very cool and walk very nicely, for me was a testament to him and how special he is.

“I’ve no complaints and I’m happy with where we are.”

With the dressage concluded, Saturday’s action will see the riders tackle the notorious Burghley cross-country course, ahead of Sunday’s show jumping trials.

Family-friendly Burghley is one of two UK-based four-star events and one of only six in the world, with 160,000 people and the best equestrians on the planet descending on Stamford for the week’s action.

And Townend insists keeping his trio of star horses in and among the leaders in what promises to be a daunting cross-country effort will leave him delighted.

“The ground will ride softer than it walks, as it always does at Burghley, but at the same time, we’re in a good position,” he said.

“The jumps are seriously big and I’m very happy with all three horses.

“If all three stays on the marks they’re on now, I’ll be doing backward somersaults.”

The multi-award-winning Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials from August 30 – September 2 has been established as a major international equestrian and social event in the Autumn Sporting Calendar for over 50 years. For more information visit

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