Cross Country Map 2012
|4||Leaf Pit Classic|
|10/11||Land Rover Trout Hatchery|
|13-15||HSBC Maltings Branch|
|19||Land Rover Dairy Farm|
|28||Land Rover Landing|
|30/31||The Olympic Legacy|
|33||Land Rover Finale|
By Capt Mark Phillips CVO
Burghley Cross Country Course Designer 2005–2012
After last year’s 50th Anniversary ‘retro’ course it was difficult to know where to go next, especially with this year’s Event coming just four weeks after the Eventing Olympic Games in Greenwich.
Starting in Ring 2, as in recent years, the Marquee of Exeter - Burghley Overture (1) being hurdled by the ethereal figure of the Marquess of Exeter has a familiar look as does Daniel Lambert sitting on his Sofa (2). The Vegetable Stall (3) is also unchanged as riders complete the first minute and start to settle into a rhythm for the rest of the course.
The Leaf Pit Classic (4) is a traditional Burghley fence but has a new look this time. There is a large fence just two strides before the dreaded drop and then riders have their first choice of the quicker left hand route that requires a little riding, control and accuracy or the easier but longer left hand route. The Elephant Trap (5) is an unchanged ‘retro’ fence from last year and riders will think this is something of an easy before they come to Discovery Valley (6, 7).
In recent years Discovery Valley has been something of a bogey fence and this year could be no exception! The first part is a narrow trunk on the back side of the ditch and provides an optic that many horses will not have seen before. There is no option here so riders will want to get it right first time. The second part is two brush Discoveries angled either side of the ditch. The angles look daunting but the brush should be forgiving. There is an option over another trunk at the first Discovery for those that don’t fancy taking on the direct line.
Herbert’s Hedge (8) named after the long time course builder, Philip Herbert, is natural thorn but with its ditch in front and drop behind, is not really the let up it was intended to be.
Riders will need to concentrate at the Cascade Complex (9) - the next ‘retro’ fence. They will need to see a good forward stride at the impressive oxer in the ditch if they are to hold their line on four strides to the right corner that follows; though they can put a bending five or six strides to an easier left hand corner if they think that route one is too much of a question.
The Land Rover Trout Hatchery (10, 11) has a new look this time with the Goose Nest in the lower Hatchery coming two strides after getting into water. There is then a new exit and easier turn to the two angled hedges in the top Hatchery. While the hedges are unchanged, the new approach should make them ride better this time.
Waterloo (12) is another traditional Burghley site. 50 years ago this fence would not have measured but modern rules allow us to put these two huge sweet chestnut logs together to create a massive fence as horses traverse the plain. This year there is an alternative for anyone that thinks the direct route is too much for their horse.
The HSBC Maltings Branch (13, 14, 15) is becoming a modern day classic. The first red and white house is not too daunting. It’s then decision time again for the riders as to how they approach the large open left hand corner. I believe the direct route where they take on the rails with a drop and four strides to the corner will be the favourite but many may opt for the narrow rails with no drop and a five or six stride bending line that takes the angle out of the corner; both routes are very possible. The huge white oxer that follows is unchanged.
There is no let up either at the Rolex Combination (16, 17), which is probably this year’s most difficult fence. The Triple Brush at the beginning is large and narrow and commits you to the corner over the ditch at a daunting angle. This is followed by another Triple Brush on a four-stride bending line. There is of course a scenic route but nobody can be thinking of the Land Rover Prize Money until this one is behind them as pace, power and accuracy is very much the name of the game here.
Capability’s South (18) is new but will hold few fears before riders come to the Land Rover Dairy Farm (19). Here there are a brand new pair of steps on a bounce distance and then one stride to an angled hedge. It all looks massive as you look up from the bottom and for those that still have petrol in the tank it should be OK, but if the gas is running low the three hedges on the longer route may be the prudent option.
Now at the seven-minute mark the technical part of the course is mostly behind them as riders move towards a series of massive fences.
Keeper’s Cottage (20) is very much related to Cottesmore Leap (21) - the largest eventing fence in the world. It is unchanged from last year but the feint of heart would be well advised not to step and look into the bottom of the ditch! Many riders still won’t walk up to this fence. There is, as ever, an alternative for those that think this is too much.
It’s then the run down Winners’ Avenue (22) towards the House. Here riders have the chance to give their horses a breather and take stock of the clock and what they need to do to get home without time penalties. The Pardubice (23), another of last year’s ‘retro’ fences, looks as large as ever before coming to Capability’s Cutting (24). Here I’ve been quite kind as the cabin before the Cutting allows the horses plenty of room to land before dropping down. The cabin on the other side though looks huge so riders must ensure that the steep banks in Capability’s Cutting do not knock the stuffing out of their horses, especially as the Burghley Station (25) comes next. The thought of coming down the hill to this gigantic oxer is what scares me the most!
The Lake Crossing (26, 27, 28) comes up very quickly next. The Log at the Anniversary Splash (26) is unchanged but I think the impressive trees either side will make it ride better than last year. The Owl Hole on Fifty-Fifty Island (27) is brand new and with water before and after, it looks impressive to say the least but at the Land Rover Landing (28) the boat in the water should provide few fears for those still in the tack!
The Jubilee Leap (29) is an old favourite and rides well off this approach. The Olympic Legacy (30, 31) in the Arena is not so difficult. Kindly on loan from London 2012 these three fences that featured at Greenwich include the two impressive jumping horses made from recycled horseshoes, designed and made by sculptor Tom Hill, who is exhibiting at the Event on stand B39. Hopefully everyone, competitors and spectators alike will enjoy this element from the Olympic Games.
The course is again nearly 11½ minutes long. Riders will need to judge their pace and their horses fitness and stamina. For sure though this is a true four star Burghley track and the winner will fully deserve the accolades and Land Rover prize money.