A huge crowd rose to their feet in appreciation as Germany’s Michael Jung and his wonderful horse La Biosthetique Sam jumped the perfect clear round to win the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in Britain on Sunday.
Jung, who will be defending his European title next weekend, is the first German rider to win a British CCI4*, and he received a great reception from the crowd, who recognised a phenomenal horseman in action and had been surrounding him all weekend asking for ‘selfies’ and autographs.
“To come to Burghley is amazing, to ride the cross-country was wonderful and to win here at an event which is such a great tradition in the sport is just fantastic. This will be one of the highlights of my life,” said Jung. “I really enjoyed it here and hope I will have horses for it next year.”
This is the 21st international event he has won with the 16-year-old Sam, which he describes as “being like a good friend – every time he gives me 100%.”
Burghley was also the sixth and final leg of the FEI Classics series, and Jung finished second overall behind his compatriot Ingrid Klimke, who was at Burghley to receive her cheque for $US40,000 in the main arena.
Jung was under huge pressure coming into the arena as New Zealand’s Tim Price had conjured a beautiful clear round from the improving Ringwood Sky Boy to finish runner-up behind the German for the second time this year, following Kentucky (USA) in April.
“Sky Boy has been improving and I hoped that would show itself on the flat,” Price said. “He has always been a good cross-country horse but to be still here today, in second place, is wonderful. He is not a natural showjumper but he is learning to try hard at the right moment.”
It was a good day all round for Price, as well as the £46,000 as runners-up, Eventing Team NZ Farrier Andrew Nickalls won the Worshipful Company of Farriers’ Best Shod Horse Award for his shoeing of Ringwood Sky Boy. Tim also picked up a $US5000 bonus in the SSG Go Low for the Dough Contingency Bonus Prize Awards.
“He has been a horse who has been coming along all the time but never been able to produce it in the ring at this level, so obviously I am delighted with him,” he said. “It is such a great achievement. We almost got the little fella from Germany … next time,” Price said.
The talented Christopher Burton (AUS), who has never previously completed Burghley, had a perfect day with two clear rounds to finish third and fourth on TS Jamaimo and Haruzac.
“I haven’t had a very good run here before – I came here as a young rider from Australia in 2004 and fell off at the third fence, so just to see the finish flags was a pretty good feeling,” he said.
Jonelle Price (NZL) slipped from third to fifth when Classic Moet hit the first part of the treble, but clear rounds elevated Sir Mark Todd to sixth on Leonidas ll, Cedric Lyard (FRA) to seventh on Cadeau du Roi, Kristina Cook (Star Witness) to eighth and best British rider, and Sam Griffiths (AUS) and Paulank Brockagh to ninth.
Jonelle Price was philosophical about her fifth place finish. “It was a good round. She jumped really well,” she said of Classic Moet. “Maybe I was a little bit close to the first of the treble … but overall, three great phases. Fifth place – I can’t complain.”
Classic Moet also collected the £1000 prize for her owner Trisha Rickards for being the Highest Placed British Bred Horse and a scholarship of two embryos from Twemlows Stud Farm for the Highest placed British domiciled mare.
Todd was rapt with the efforts of Leonidas.“He seems to be getting better and better, so I’m delighted,” he said. Todd’s groom Khia Cadney-Moon was runner up in the STX Equine Fitness Horse Care Award.
William Fox-Pitt (GBR) had a fence down on Fernhill Pimms but still rose three places to 10th. But for the first time since the inception of the FEI Classics in 2008 he missed out on a cash prize. The Badminton winner finished on the same score, 24 points, as Tim Price, but the New Zealander took precedent in fourth place on the final leaderboard as, according to the rules, he had gained his points at fewer competitions.
Jung, 33, was the first rider in history to hold Olympic, World and European titles simultaneously and the first to win four championship titles consecutively.
He first came to prominence in 2009, when he won the Luhmühlen CCI4*, the FEI World Cup Eventing final in Strzegom (POL) and an individual European bronze medal in Fontainebleau (FRA), all on La Biosthetique Sam.
The pair went on to win the world title in Kentucky (USA) in 2010, double European gold in Luhmühlen in 2011 and double Olympic gold in London (GBR) in 2012 and, in 2013, they were second at Badminton CCI4*.
Jung won a second European title, at Malmö (SWE) in 2013 on Halunke, and last year finished second at Luhmühlen and won world team gold and individual silver medals on FisherRocana FST. He lives at Horb, Germany, where his parents, Joachim and Bridgette, own a riding establishment.
Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing
Burghley was also the latest leg of the Rolex Grand Slam of eventing, which was established in 2001.
Kentucky, and Badminton run two weeks apart in the spring, and Burghley, in the east of England, is the autumn highlight of the global sport.
To date, only one rider – Rolex Eventing Testimonee Pippa Funnell – has won this most prestigious series. In 2003 the much-medalled mainstay of British teams for many years took the Rolex Kentucky crown on Primmore’s Pride. She progressed to Badminton a week later and won there on Supreme Rock, her double European Champion, and added the Burghley title that autumn on Primmore’s Pride – beating Zara Phillips into second place on her four-star debut at the same time. Pippa Funnell immediately joined the ranks of sporting greats, respected by her peers and the media alike as an exceptional athlete.
Since then, two of the three legs of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing have been won by four riders: the Australian Andrew Hoy, Britain’s William Fox-Pitt and Oliver Townend, and the New Zealand hero of six Olympic Games and current live Rolex Grand Slam contender, Andrew Nicholson. None of these top-class riders have yet succeeded in triumphing over the series and winning the final element of the Rolex Grand Slam.
Additional reporting: ESNZ
1 Michael Jung/La Biosthetique Sam (GER) 39.2 + 0.8 + 0 = 40.0 – £63,000 – rider prize £5,000
2 Tim Price/Ringwood Sky Boy (NZL) 38.7 + 2.8 + 0 = 41.5 – £46,000 – rider prize £4,000
3 Christopher Burton/TS Jamaimo (AUS) 45.0 + 0 + 0 = 45.0 – £35,000 – rider prize £3,000
4 Christopher Burton/Haruzac (AUS) 41.2 + 6.4 + 0 = 47.6 – £22,000 – rider prize £2,000
5 Jonelle Price/Classic Moet (NZL) 44.9 + 0 + 4 = 48.9 – £15,000 – rider prize £1,000
6 Sir Mark Todd/Leonidas ll (NZL) 41.7 + 8.8 + 0 = 50.5 – £12,000
7 Cedric Lyard/Cadeau du Roi (FRA) 39.6 + 11.2 + 0 = 50.8 – £9,000
8 Kristina Cook/Star Witness (GBR) 47.4 + 5.2 + 0 = 52.6 – £7,500
9 Sam Griffiths/Paulank Brockagh (AUS) 42.5 + 15.2 + 0 = 57.7 – £6,500
10 William Fox-Pitt/Fernhill Pimms (GBR) 34.2 + 20.4 + 4 = 58.6 – £4,500
(Prize money awarded to the owners)
Images below © Mike Bain