Todd hoping to bow out with a stirring display

Mark Todd's final event in England begins this morning, when he rides Just a Mission in the dressage phase of the Burghley Pedigree Horse Trials. On Monday the "Horseman of the Century" (as he was named this year) flies to Sydney for the Olympics. When the Games are over, he will retire from the sport and return home to New Zealand.

Mark Todd's final event in England begins this morning, when he rides Just a Mission in the dressage phase of the Burghley Pedigree Horse Trials. On Monday the "Horseman of the Century" (as he was named this year) flies to Sydney for the Olympics. When the Games are over, he will retire from the sport and return home to New Zealand.

Just a Mission, a grey 10-year-old, was one of three horses Todd put in quarantine in preparation for the Olympics. In the end, the other two - Diamond Hall Red and Eyespy II - were flown out to Sydney, but it was a close-run decision.

"I found it impossible to choose between them, so I left it to the selectors," Todd said.

Just a Mission led after the dressage at Lexington in Kentucky this year, but he was not at his best when collecting steeplechase and cross-country time faults there, eventually finishing in eighth place. It was later thought that he had picked up a virus on the journey. Concern as to how he might cope with the long flight to Sydney was one of the reasons why he was not chosen for the Olympics.

"If the horse is in top form, he has as good a chance as any," Todd said of his Burghley prospects. He would naturally love to complete his 20-odd years in Britain with a sixth Burghley victory but, despite the absence of the Olympic horses, he will have some tough opposition.

Among the favourites are Christopher Bartle with the 1998 Badminton winner, Word Perfect II, William Fox-Pitt and Moon Man, with whom he won the British Open at Gatcombe, and Bettina Overesch, who was astonishingly omitted from the German Olympic team with the Punchestown runner-up, Unsung Hero.

Burghley is also the culmination of the daunting target which Vere Phillipps set himself at the start of the year, when he decided that he would try to qualify for the event with Coral Cove, formerly ridden by his late wife, Polly.

Considering that he had never evented before, qualification was a great feat in itself. If he can jump a clear round over the four-star cross-country track on Saturday, it would be a phenomenal achievement.

News
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Life and Style
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Manager (retail, upgrades, rollouts)

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project...

Technical Project Manager - Software and Infrastructure - Government Experience

£400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Central Lon...

Head of Technology

Negotiable: Randstad Education Reading: Head of Technology needed for a Outsta...

Maths teachers needed in Cromer

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Maths teachers requir...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits