Burghley Horse Trials: Fox-Pitt claims first and third spots after zinging in the rain

With two masterful displays of cross-country riding, William Fox-Pitt made light of difficult conditions to take a useful lead on Tamarillo in the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials yesterday and third position with Ballincoola.

They are separated by the Australian Philip Dutton, now ridingfor America, where he lives,on Woodburn, a speedy New Zealand thoroughbred.

Fox-Pitt's Olympic team-mate Mary King stands fourth and fifth with Imperial Cavalier and Apache Sauce, the former's superior dressage score offsetting his slower cross-country time as, going last of all, they had to contend with heavy rain on already sodden ground.

The course designer, Mark Phillips, expressed himself "hugely relieved" at the end of a roller-coaster day on which 28 of the 59 starters went unpen-alised at the obstacles, with just three finishing inside the time allowed, but many high-profile riders went home disappointed.

They included Phillips' daughter Zara, one of the six riders to fall, and therefore retire, at the deceptive mushroom-shaped Fence 25 after an otherwise good round. The dressage leaders, Ruth Edge on Mr Dumbledore, and Lucy Wiegersma (Shaabrak) both pulled out after singlemistakes.

The 2004 winner, Andrew Hoy on Moonfleet, fellowAustralian Matt Ryan with Bonza Puzzle and British hope Oliver Townend riding Flint Curtis, also retired after faulting.

It was disappointing for the spectators, with so many gaps interrupting the action due to riders retiring early, withdrawing before the start or falls which forced following riders tobe halted until it was safe to restart. The Burghley team had a massive task to keep the show going at all and, as Phillips pointed out, the riders had much the best of the ground with their "four-wheel drive" partners.

The day started well as the trailblazing Rosie Thomas attacked the testing course in positive style on Barry's Best to finish without either jumping or time penalties.

She made it look easy, but despite the removal of three jumps and one back rail, the difficulty was truly four-star standard, regardless of weatherand underfoot conditions, while the designated time of 11min 30sec proved too quick for all but Barry's Best, Woodburnand Tamarillo.

Many struggled to complete, and Phillips' first ride, Glenbuck, pulled up a long way from home, but Tamarillo appeared to skip across the ground with ease, despite going three from last in a deluge. "He was incredible, really good fun to ride today," said the rider of the 16-year-old.

Earlier, Fox-Pitt was at his best on Ballincoola, not a fast horse, but a genuine, powerful jumper. They took the shortest route, earning just 2.8 time penalties.

While future stars, human or equine, are slow to emerge at this level, riders could do no better than learn from Fox-Pitt, Dutton or King, who dominated their rivals yesterday. Fox-Pitt goes into today's showjumping phase with a 10.4 point lead, or more than two fences in hand. But going last in these conditions, he will not be complacent.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...