Friday, Apr. 12, 2024

King Rules Burghley CCI5*-L Dressage

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Reigning European Championships team gold medalist Kitty King of Great Britain and Vendredi Biats pulled a career-best dressage test out of the bag Friday to head the leaderboard going into Saturday’s cross-country phase at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (England).

King, who admitted to being disappointed that she wasn’t selected for the British team for the upcoming FEI Eventing World Championships in Pratoni del Vivaro, Italy, cried tears of joy upon her and “Froggy’s” score of 21.2 being announced.

“I don’t know what to say really other than I’m thrilled and relieved,” she said. “He’s a very sharp horse, and we haven’t always been able to produce what he can do at home on the big stage, so it’s a huge relief to eventually be able to show everyone what he is capable of. He spent most of the time in the warm-up arena tripping over his feet and then jumping up in the air because he was cross with himself, but he was very rideable in the main arena—he stayed with me and pulled it out of the bag.”

KittyKing_VendrediBiats_LRBHT_PN22_40473

Kitty King and Vendredi Biats scored a 10 for harmony from one judge in their collective marks in their winning  dressage test Friday at the Land Rover Burghley CCI5*-L. Photo Courtesy Of Burghley Horse Trials

Along with helping secure team gold at the European Championships last year, King and Froggy, a 13-year-old Selle Francais gelding owned by Diana Bown, Sally Eyre, Samantha Wilson and Sally Lloyd-Baker, finished seventh at Badminton earlier this year and, in 2019, won Bramham CCI4*-L (England) and finished seventh at Luhmühlen (Germany).

The leaders going into Friday’s lunch break, Tim Price of New Zealand and Vitali now lie second on 21.3. British riders round out the top five—Thursday’s leaders, Sarah Bullimore and Corouet sit third on 22.5. Piggy March and Vanir Kamira are fourth on 22.6, while world No. 1-ranked Oliver Townend and Swallow Springs, who were the final combination to complete their dressage test Friday, are fifth on 23.6.

“Vitali is very capable and he’s been working well all week,” Price said. “If he’s in that frame of mind he normally stays that way for a few days so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Townend summed up just how open the competition still is ahead of what is set to be an exciting and influential day of cross-country Saturday.

“This is not going to be a dressage competition,” he said. “It’s Burghley, and on a score of 23.6, we’re still more than close enough.”

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The four U.S. pairs in the 52-entry field, all of whom did their dressage Thursday, will go into cross-country in the following positions:

• 15th—Meghan O’Donoghue and her own Palm Crescent (29.6)

• 16th tied—Woods Baughman and C’est La Vie 135, whom he owns with Kim and James Baughman Jr. (29.8)

• 41st—Emily Hamel and her own Corvett (37.3)

• 50th—Cornelia Dorr and her own Daytona Beach 8 (39.0)

The five-star cross-country is set to begin at 11:30  a.m. Saturday local time (6:30 a.m. Eastern time) with New Zealand’s Time Price and Bango first to tackle Derek di Grazia’s track. It can be watched live, with a subscription, on Burghley TV or followed on Burghley Radio.

Click here for full results.

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