Lexington, KY – The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials is renowned as the toughest cross country track in the world.
2009 didn’t disappoint.
Capt. Mark Phillips course required both bravery and accuracy, there were problems around the track and the most troublesome fence: Land Rover Discovery Valley (fence 6) caught out more than 20 horses and riders.
American pair Phillip Dutton and TruLuck weren’t among them. The most dependable cross-country rider in the world didn’t tarnish his reputation and guided the relatively inexperienced 12-year-old Thoroughbred gelding to fourth place. Plagued by injury throughout his career, TruLuck always delivers when he gets to the competition, his most recent accomplishment before Burghley was winning Team Gold and Individual Silver medalist at the 2007 Pan American Games.
“I was ecstatic about the way he went,” said Dutton. “It goes to show what a classy horse he is, he’s been pretty injury-prone, and missed a lot of training. Every time he comes out he really shines.”
After his dressage test on Thursday, Dutton found himself atop the leaderboard, three went ahead of him on Friday and a just handful of time penalties on the cross country and in the show jumping meant he held his position.
Buck Davidson and BallyNoe Castle RM also put on an impressive performance at an event where Davidson has been a victim of horrific luck, having fallen twice previously on the steeplechase phase during the long format. He put the demons behind him and Carl and Cassandra Segal’s 9-year-old Irish Thoroughbred lived up to his expectations, cruising into 11th place on the strength of his jumping ability.
Davidson was followed closely by Amy Tryon and another 9-year-old at his first Burghley. Elisabeth Nicholson’s Leyland relished in the guidance of his two-time Olympian pilot and added just cross country time penalties and one rail in the show jumping to his dressage score for 14th place at the end of the competition.
No one was going to catch British rider Oliver Townend.
The 26-year-old phenom won his second CCI**** of the year, putting the icing on Flint Curtis’ Badminton cake with a gate to wire win at Burghley on Carousel Quest. He has now won two-thirds of the Rolex Grand Slam and will certainly have a full arsenal heading to Kentucky for next year’s Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event.
For more information and complete results, please visit: www.burghley-horse.co.uk.
To watch videos of the cross country, visit www.burghley.tv.