Sunday, September 06, 2009 16:26 BST
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED FOR CAROUSEL QUEST
Oliver Townend and Carousel Quest are the undisputed winners of this year’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. Oliver couldn’t have dreamt of a better result. The combination produced a clear round show jumping to add to their clear round cross-country yesterday and of the 80 starters finished the three days of competition a comfortable eight penalties ahead of the 49 who completed. Ollie was quick to praise Cressida Clague-Reading who originally produced the horse and from who he took over the ride when Cressida decided to concentrate on show jumping. “Cressy put all the buttons on him – all I had to do was press them – he is a class horse,” said Oliver who will take home the Land Rover Perpetual Challenge trophy and a cheque for £55,000. “To be honest I am still celebrating Badminton – to win Burghley as well is simply just amazing – there is no point in saying anything else.”
Carousel Quest's breeder Joan Hood collected a prize as the grey by Carousel was the highest placed British bred horse.
The win also keeps Oliver at the head of the HSBC FEI Classics™ rankings, which finalises at Les Etoiles de Pau in France next month and also puts him in contention for a Rolex Grand Slam in Lexington, Kentucky next May, the first rider since Andrew Hoy attempted – but narrowly missed at Burghley in 2006.
A clear round over Richard Jeffery’s tightly timed course brought former British team member Polly Stockton up from 6th place overnight, into second with Arthur Comyn’s 10-year-old Westwood Poser. The Master Imp gelding who began the competition in 13th after dressage was contesting his first four-star event. “I wasn’t planning on bringing him here but after my main entry Regulus had to have colic surgery a few weeks ago I decided to re-route Poser – but I can’t quite believe the outcome,” said Polly, who rode Westwood Poser to fourth place in the World Cup Qualifiers at both Gatcombe and Tattersalls this year. “I knew he had the ability to do well but I did wonder if Burghley was a big ask for him but he just got stuck in and I can’t quite believe how far he came up.”
Four faults dropped Sam Griffiths and Happy Times to third place – the same position they occupied at the horse’s first four-star at Badminton. “I think he’s proved his Badminton result was no fluke and I am very excited about his future. He now deserves a good rest and hopefully we might think about campaining him towards the World Equestrian Games next year.”