Cross Country Map 2014
|1||Olympic Horse Shoe|
|4abc||Lord Burghley Hurdles|
|7ab, 8||Classics Leaf Pit|
|13, 14abc||Land Rover Trout Hatchery|
|15||The Captain’s Log|
|17, 18ab||Malting’s Bounce|
|20ab||Land Rover Dairy Farm|
|24||Rolex Grand Slam Pardubice|
|25, 26||Capability’s Cutting|
|30ab||Lion Bridge Marina|
|32||Land Rover Finale|
By Capt Mark Phillips CVO
Burghley Cross Country Course Designer 2005–2014
Coming just the weekend after the World Equestrian Games, preparations have been a little different this year. So many people have asked me what I’m going to change. The answer is quite simple, nothing. Burghley has always been Burghley and the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials are now established as one of this country’s great sporting occasions.
Last year we had a brand new track that seemed to work well, so I saw no reason to change it. However, that is where the similarity ends, even if the Olympic Horse Shoe (1) and Lambert’s Sofa (2) in front of Burghley House, have a familiar look to help settle the nerves before horses get into their stride heading for the impressive Chinese House (3), the first big effort.
As riders come into the Main Arena and past the first minute mark they face a new slalom question (4). Here we will see who is really trying as riders can swing as tight or as wide as they feel confident. The ephagy of Lord Burghley and the Fountain just help to determine the ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ turn.
Discovery Valley (5) has become a major Burghley feature. While the first Discovery at an angle on top of the steep bank has a familiar look, the new Triple Brush 5 strides later looks very missable. This is the first combination, where riders really need their ‘big game pants’ on if they are to avoid the dreaded early glance off.
Just past the second minute marker comes the Elephant Trap (6). It looks wide, deep and daunting but horses at this level will take a bit of a breather as they fly this one.
The Classics Leaf Pit (7,8) has a totally new look. Riders must decide if they are prepared to take on the shorter ‘inside’ turn to the Planet or the more conservative longer approach. The Moon should cause few problems before horses descend the precipice down into the Leaf Pit before coming up to the spectacular Sun.
Leaving the fun behind, its concentration time again as riders pass the 3 minute mark and return to Discovery Valley (9). The angle on the Discovery before the ditch held few fears last year. The angle across the ditch and up the little bank the far side was more disruptive than riders thought. This will need some consideration as just 4 strides later is a very missable brush corner. There is though, as always, a time consuming alternative.
All I think will enjoy Herbert’s Hollow (10, 11) where there is a brand new Oxer followed 7 strides later by a huge Hedge. We’ve put some grade on the landing here this year so horses will get less jar from the drop. Now past the 4 minute mark there is yet another new fence, the V Rails (12). Again these look daunting but riders just need to decide which side they prefer.
The Land Rover Trout Hatchery (13, 14) has a totally new look. From the top of the bank before the bottom Hatchery, the curved Hedge in the water looks a little scary but once in the water the question becomes clearer for the horses. Riders then need to kick, going up the slope to the Log into the top Hatchery. There is still no time to relax as the Step out comes up very quickly before going up the bank and turning to another curved Hedge. All this will happen very quickly so a lot of riders may find themselves going to ‘plan B’ part way through the process. Either way there will be plenty of excitement at this most popular spectator area.
The Captains Log (15) is big but a real let up before horses climb up the hill past the 5 minute mark to The Maltings (16,17,18). Riders start with the legendary White Oxer, the straight approach will not make this any easier. It’s then the circle round to the right to a ‘Bounce’ of Hedges up on to the Mound. These look big but I think will ride well. It’s then decision time though as riders either need to commit to 4 strides or stay out for 5 strides to a massive looking ‘open’ Corner. This is probably the most technically difficult fence so far.
Now at the heart of the course, riders pass the 6 minute mark coming up the hill to the Rolex Combination (19). The Vicarage Vee type first element looks very open this year, so line will be everything before bending to a brush corner that runs away to the right quite acutely. Nobody will relax until they are through Rolex and they still have the Land Rover Dairy Farm (20) to come as they pass the 7 minute mark.
Last year’s long route has become this year’s quick route. I think the first Triple Brush will ride well, but riders then have to decide how wide they want to go in the roll back to the second Brush or whether they want to take more time and go down the Steps. I think we will see all sorts of variations here.
Riders can now start to think of home as they approach the Hunting Lodge (21) and the traditional but no less massive Cottesmore Leap (22). It’s now into Winners Avenue and the fastest part of the course past the 8 minute mark and down to the Picnic Table (23) past the 9 minute mark and on to The Rolex Grand Slam Pardubice (24).
Riders will have to slow up though for Capability’s Cutting (25, 26). The Rails in are a little bigger this time an need respect but then there is a choice of the narrow Oxer just up out of the Cutting or a wider one where there are a couple more steps to get momentum going again.
It’s then down the hill past the 10 minute mark to the massive Stamford Station (27). This always commands riders respect. The Anniversary Splash (28) has a new fence in. The Hedge provides the maximum 2 metre drop but its softness should be really user friendly to the horses. The Owl Hole on the Island is unchanged and the Lincolnshire Goose (29) has not moved far from her nest.
Riders have one last choice to make at the Lion Bridge Marina (30). The first Boat is not too difficult but they then have to decide whether to go through the Middle Arch and take on the angle at the Second Boat or to play safe and go around through the outside Arch.
Those that stay clear will have made a lot of good choices and can rightly be proud of completing a true 4 star Burghley track.