Plan B for Murray Lamperd has worked out pretty well, after the Australian eventer finished 10th at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, and won the award for the best placed first timer.
Riding the New Zealand thoroughbred Under the Clocks – Ninja at home – Lamperd was the best placed finisher of the 17th first-timers at Burghley this year.
Lamperd headed to Britain for the Badminton CCI4* last year, before spending the season training in Germany and finishing off at Pau CCI4* in the autumn. Under The Clocks remained in the UK over the winter, first with fellow Australian Christopher Burton and then at Murray’s brother Warren’s yard near Newbury. Murray returned to his family and business in Australia.
His aim was to earn a spot on the country’s team to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
“We didn’t make it to the WEG, so to a certain extent Burghley was plan B, and I wasn’t even sure if I’d go beyond the dressage,” Lamperd said. “I have an entry in at Blenheim too, in case I decided to re-route.
Based in Victoria, Lamperd, 43, runs the Bellarine Horse Riding Centre, a riding school that has been in the family for 40 years.
“It was a lifestyle choice to stay in Australia rather than move permanently to the UK,” said Lamperd, who has two young children. “We threw everything at getting the horse over here to aim for the World Games; we held auctions, sought donations, you name it – people were amazing. We live in a tiny house, putting everything into the horses, which is scary when you stop to think about it.
“At Badminton last year I learnt the feeling of the worst that adrenalin can do. This year, thanks to some great training, my riding has improved out of sight. I’ve got sharper and definitely think more deeply about what I do,” Lamperd said.
“Burghley has been an incredible experience. Prime weather, prime going, a prime course. It’s not a headspace that I’m familiar with, especially having such a great cross-country day around a track like that. We took all the direct routes and Ninja flew round; while I need to update my brakes a bit, it was amazing. I don’t ever have to kick him on, I just ‘cluck’ occasionally.
“I don’t consider myself to be in the same league as some of the [top] riders here, I just wanted to look after my horse and finish safe and sound. I now have a couple of weeks to holiday with my family before heading back home. We can’t afford to fly Ninja home so he will stay with my brother while we take a long hard look at what happens next. I hope I’ll be back.”
Under the Clocks, by the Woodman sire Woodborough and out of Regal Kate (Ring the Bell / Vice Regal) trialed in New Zealand as a two-year-old before being exported to Australia.
Woodborough was exported to South Africa in 2003 after shuttling in Ireland and New Zealand, and stood at stud he died in 2013. He was a popular sire of sport horses.