Tim Price has dropped down the leaderboard after having 5.2 time faults with Vitali over the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials cross-country – while two more serious top-10 contenders have failed to finish the course.
Tim gave the Giannamores’ Vitali a super trip round Derek di Grazia’s course, taking care of the green five-star horse where necessary but still being competitive.
“He’s inexperienced but a very typey little horse with plenty of scope. But he’s never seen like a course like that,” said Tim.
“I gave him a bit of time in the first half of the course. I just really like to set up a bit of a theme where especially on an inexperienced horse you let them see the course and find a nice rhythm and do a couple of fences nicely and then really ask them to push home.
“I was – surprised is perhaps the wrong word – but with how he dealt with the size of the fences and the difficulty in the first half. And then again I was pleasantly surprised by the way he really pulled home for me.
“We were much more down on the clock at some points – we finished 13 seconds over, but we would have been maybe 25 or so earlier on – so he really pulled a lot back. Credit to him and I’m really excited about him.”
The pair, who were second after dressage and are the reigning British open champions, will finish the day sixth or better, depending on what happens to the final competitors on the course.
Oliver Townend, who was ninth after dressage on Tregilder, was on the way home from a good, fast round when the horse pecked on landing at the penultimate fence, the Parasol Table, and came down. Both Tregilder and Oliver walked away.
“It’s the sad bit of the sport – he didn’t feel like he did anything wrong all the way round. He was very genuine,” said Oliver. “The good thing is we know we have a Burghley horse.
“He jumped the fence very well and just pecked. It’s very bad luck for him and the team behind him.
“Welfare is the most important thing about the whole sport and he walked away shocked but fine and none the worse for wear.”
Zara Tindall was riding forwards all the way through the Holland Cooper Leaf Pit (fence seven) but Class Affair never seemed to clock the corner out of the combination and ran out. Zara, who had been 12th after dressage, then retired.
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