Australia’s Christopher Burton won the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials on Nobilis 18 at the weekend, and Mike Bain was there to capture the action.
Burton had four rails in hand going into the final jumping phase – and he indeed knocked four down. One more rail on the ground would have meant that Andrew Nicholson (NZL) would have won Burghley for the sixth time.
Riding Nereo, the New Zealander also had a rail down and time faults, to finish fewer than 4 penalties behind the winner in second place.
Jonelle Price (NZL) scored her best CCI4* result this year, third on Classic Moet with just four faults, and her husband, Tim, who had taken the pressure off Burton with his three fences down on Ringwood Sky Boy, ended up in fourth place.
“I tried to keep it interesting for you all,” said Burton wryly.
“Nobilis is usually a careful jumper, but he felt a bit tired and the ground was perhaps a little dead, but that’s three-day eventing for you.
“Never in my wildest dreams did it occur to me that I would win Burghley. I’d walked past all the plaques on Winners’ Avenue – all these old boys with their names on them! – and thought it would be nice to have my name there too.”
Andrew Nicholson may not quite count as an “old boy”, but he is 21 years older than Burton and he admits that he is not back to full strength after breaking his neck 12 months ago. “You don’t know how special this is,” he said afterwards.
Images below © Mike Bain
Burton, 34, is the current world number two. He has won Adelaide CCI4* twice, in 2008 on Newsprint and in 2013 on the catch ride TS Jamaimo, but he really sprang into the limelight with a brilliant trailblazing cross-country ride at the London Olympic Games in 2012 where he finished 16th on Holstein Park Leilani.
Burton, who is married to fellow rider Rebekah, has been settled in Britain, in Surrey, for five years, notching up several good international placings including third and fourth places at Burghley last year on TS Jamaimo and Haruzac, and second place on Nobilis 18 at Blenheim CCI3*.
This year, he won the CCI3* at Saumur on Santano ll, his ride in the Rio Olympic Games where he led after the cross-country phase and finished in eventual fifth place with a team bronze medal.
Nobilis 18 is an 11-year-old Hanoverian-bred gelding by Nobre owned by Sue Lawson, Carolyn Townsend and Chris Burton.