Burghley Horse Trials: Huge crowds attend outstanding competition
Stamford was bursting at the seams at the weekend as thousands of people descended on the town to watch the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.
Director Elizabeth Inman said the 2018 event, which was won by New Zealand's Tim Price, had attracted "enormous" crowds.
"We had been worried as the park was barren about six weeks ago after the long, hot and dry spell we’ve had, despite our irrigation system," she said.
"The whole team has worked extremely hard and everyone owes them a huge amount of gratitude for the efforts they’ve made to ensure the the ground is as good as it is."
As well as providing four days of outstanding competition, the event appeared to have gone well for the many trade stand holders.
"We don’t have any stats yet but we have had enormous crowds and we were really pleased that the shops were heaving yesterday as it’s been a tough year for some traders who do the show circuit," said Elizabeth.
One of the stars of the event from a local perspective was Richard Jones who had a fantastic competition and posted his best result to date with Alfies Clover in seventh.
The pair rose from 33rd after dressage courtesy of two superb jumping phases.
"This results means everything but it’s all about progression and hopefully we can come back in the future and win it," said Richard, who is a past Stamford School pupil.
Another local rider, Melton Mowbray-based Willa Newton also posted a 4* personal best with Chance Remark by finishing eighth.
“I’m still shaking, I can’t believe it,” she said.
“I’ve never gone so late in the show jumping here and the atmosphere was electric.”
But the day belonged to Tim who retained the lead he held after the cross country to take the title with Ringwood Sky Boy.
Fifth here last year, the pair produced one of just eight clear show jumping rounds to complete on 27.3, ahead of last year’s winners Great Britain’s Oliver Townend with Ballaghmor Class on 31.9
and New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson and Swallow Springs on 32.1.
“What a super year,” said a delighted Tim.
“Sky Boy deserves a good day – so often we nail two out of the three phases, so to finally pull them all together in a major competition is fantastic.
"This win means everything and I’m super proud of my horse.”
Despite being unable to defend his title after lowering a show jump with Ballaghmor Class, Oliver admitted that he was just as proud of the 11-year-old as he has been last year.
“It’s all about consistency,” he said.
“He’s still only 11 and I’ve been telling people for years how good he is. He’s proved that again today. For me, he turned into a professional this week and dug deep whereas last year he won out of naivety.”
Andrew Nicholson’s clear round on the 10-year-old Swallow Springs elevated them up the leader board from fifth after cross country.
“I’m very, very pleased with him,” said Andrew.
“He got distracted by the crowds in the show jumping at Blenheim last year where he had three down, and felt a bit babyish at Bramham in the summer, but he was pure class here."
British riders filled the next five places and included Sarah Bullimore with Reve Du Rouet in fourth, Piggy French and Vanir Kamira in fifth.