Burghley Cross Country 2nd September

Burghley Cross Country 2nd September
NZL-Tim Price rides Xavier Faer during the Cross Country. 2017 GBR-Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. Saturday 2 September. Copyright: Libby Law Photography

What a day at Burghley!  When Michi Jung has a 20 on Sam ( first xc fault since 2009!) and Andrew Nicholson tips his first horse up early on you know that it is going to be one of those days!  And this was a track that was run on great going in lovely weather…

Xavier Faer ( Hugo) was making Tim work from the off as he is always a little pokey into early water fences and the Lion Bridge comes up really early at Burghley!  But he was always going and he soon got into an amazing rhythm and his huge stride ate up the ground.  He effortlessly jumped the enormous Storm Dorris log corner ( main photo) and was flying when he came to the leaf pit drop down fairly late on the course.  No defined bank to have to jump off this year, just a seriously steep descent.  Many moons ago Hugo’s mother, Faerie Dazzler ( Daisy) encountered this big drop fence as fence 3 and having shuffled off the edge changed her mind and tried to shuffle back up.  This was never going to be an option and gravity took over and she actually fell off the bank decanting her jockey, one David Green, in a heap at the bottom of the drop.  So I blame daisy for Hugo’s inherited fear of this section and he kind of propped and gawped before working out how to gallop down the precipice. The double of off set unusually shaped triple bar fences ( as in not triple brush) saw Hugo jump 1 and just not read 2.  Tim blames himself and says that the he came in with too long reins and under estimated how hard that fence would ride and said Hugo needed his help and he wasn’t in a position to give it.  I thinks that’s a little harsh as it would transpire throughout the day quite how many horses found this just one question too many to understand.

Thrills and spills an huge drama later and Tim and Ringwood Sky Boy ( Ozzie) set off with the competition wide open.  They looked to have one of their best rides ever round Burghley and were very uneventful to watch which certainly never used to be the case when Jonelle and I used to watch between our hands as Ozzie battered his way over fence to fence!  That was a long time ago and Ozzie is now one of the most experienced four star horses competing and he and Tim’s partnership totally cemented.  It was pretty much foot perfect in all but the fact that Tim picked up 5.2 time which still elevated him from 7th up to 4th spot.

It’s still a long way to go but both horses looked great on Saturday evening and it was a magnificent team effort as always.