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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£13000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be part of a ...

Recruitment Genius: 1st Line Technical Support Engineer

£19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company ar...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Manager - Visitor Fundraising

£23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...

Recruitment Genius: Developer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future