Burnham brings best from high class field

The Burnham Market Horse Trials demonstrated why Norfolk is a centre of excellence for equestrianism.

The Burnham Market Horse Trials demonstrated why Norfolk is a centre of excellence for equestrianism.

The cross-country course, featuring a new loop this year to test riders, was designed by event manager Alec Lochore, the Eventing Manager for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Alec's course rode well for most riders, with only the time proving tight and encouraging riders to push on around the track.

In fact, it was Rodger Howe's show jumping course that proved most influential with the twisting track made more difficult thanks to the damp weather, which created heavy going.

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On Saturday, the Mitsubishi Motors BE 100 Regional Final saw success for Essex rider Jane Hood and Knave of Golden Hearts, who took first place in section D.

Jane lead from the front with a dressage score of 28.5 and added no more penalties to her achievement. Second place was Suffolk-based Lucy Prior with striking black gelding Carpe Diem, only 1.5 penalties behind.

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In the Mitsubishi Motors BE 90 section H final Essex rider Vicky Palmer and her own Frank IV took the top spot, closely followed by Alison Bailey from Norfolk with Barney Bean.

On Sunday the Novice and Intermediate classes took place and attracted some top riders from around the country – and even from abroad, such as Brazilian rider Renan Guerreiro, who is currently based in Bedfordshire.

The biggest class of the event was the Open Intermediate, and it was the show jumping course that really set the men apart from the boys with experienced campaigner Matthew Wright and If You Want II jumping one of only seven clear rounds in the class to take top spot.

A clean round in the show jumping was matched with a fast clear across country, to finish inside the tight optimum time of five minutes 50 seconds, ensuring that Matthew completed on his dressage score.

Matthew, who also came fourth on Noisette des Pres, said: 'It is good for John Peace who owns both of these horses. They both did nice dressage tests but Noisette was unlucky to have a fence down.'

Second place in the Open Intermediate went to Oliver Smith riding his own Bayard, and third went to Piggy French, who was born and bred in Norfolk but is now based in Leicestershire. With four horses to ride on the day, Piggy was certainly keeping herself busy before jetting off to join the British Eventing team at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky. Although she withdrew advanced ride Lemington Lett Dance before the event, DHI Topper performed well, picking up a handful of time penalties across country to finish third.

Jo Chipperfield had a great event having travelled with a selection of horses from Hertfordshire. She took top spot in Intermediate I on King Joules and second in Intermediate J on Just Joking II. King Joules was bought form Mary King in April and Jo has been bringing him on slowly, aiming to qualify for the Intermediate Championships at Gatcombe, which this win has secured.

Jo explains: 'He was Emily King's horse and we've brought him on to do bigger things. He is a very deceptive horse across country but I'd already ridden Just Joking II quite quickly so I wasn't surprised at being so fast with King Joules too.'

Jo timed her cross country round perfectly, coming in just 0.4 seconds under to take the lead ahead of Izzy Taylor on Da Ponti and Julia Crowson on Untouchable II.

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