Oliver Townend remains in a class of his own after securing 10th success at Burnham Market Horse Trials
- Credit: Archant
For the tenth time in 10 years British number one, Oliver Townend, bagged the headline class at Barefoot Estates Burnham Market Horse Trials.
He had come to Norfolk meaning business, with four entries in the big class, and having secured the win on his third, Cooley Master Class – the same horse who took the title 12 months ago – was able to withdraw his final runner, Note Worthy, who could have given Oliver a 1-2, instead saving the horse for another day.
In total over the three days Oliver won the Three Star, the Advanced, an Intermediate and a Novice section, making the drive over from Shropshire worthwhile. Oliver now also has his first of a necessary three out of five legs of the Shearwater Insurance Grand Slam in the bag, with its £50,000 bonus.
'Burnham Market is always the first event of the year where I really aim to be competitive. I trust the ground, I trust the course designer, I trust everything about the place. I think running here sets my horses up for what's to come later in the season,' Oliver explained.
Norfolk-born Piggy French has returned to competition in some style after a year off to have a baby. She finished runner up in the Three Star on Vanir Kamira, a horse that she produced back in 2012 before the ride went elsewhere, only returning to Piggy's Maidwell base last winter.
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'I hadn't planned to run fast, but we were in a good position so I went for it,' said Piggy, who finished bang on the cross country optimum time. 'Vanir Kamira can get quite nervous and it's taken a while for me to figure her out.'
New Zealand's Andrew Nicholson made amends for an early dunking at the first water with third place on Byrnesgrove First Diamond, with Yorkshire's Nicola Wilson fourth riding Annie Clover.
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Sarah 'Cutty' Cohen was the popular winner of the Two Star, riding Treason whose last run was at Burghley where the pair finished 12th. Cutty was once one of the more prolific riders on the circuit, and was selected for the 2004 Athens Olympics but disappointingly her horse picked up a small injury before the start of the competition.
Cutty was, in fact, a double winner, sharing victory in the East Anglian Air Ambulance Camel Racing.