Putting in a stellar performance across all three phases at last weekend’s Blair Castle competition in the UK, Australia’s Chris Burton sealed his 2018 series and leg wins with an effortless cross-country clear round inside the time on the Graf Syndicate’s Graf Liberty. You can catch up on all the highlights from this epic tussle on H&C on Monday September 3 at 8.30pm EST.
‘A really special moment’
Speaking of his series win Chris said: “This is a really special moment. I couldn’t be happier. There was a lot of pressure on me coming into this weekend, most of it I put on myself — and I was really worried I might do something silly like jump the wrong jump or something. I am thrilled for Graf Liberty’s owners and over the moon with the horse. I’ve watched the guys winning the ERM legs and thought to myself, ‘Gee I’d love to win an ERM leg’ — never mind the series.”
Disappointing showjumping rounds for both Laura Collett on London 52 and Tim Price on Wesko were followed by classy clear cross-country rounds which meant that they both held onto their places on the series leader board. Laura finished second and Tim third in the 2018 contest.
Chris finished the year with a huge 107 points, with Laura on 89 and Tim on 88 points at the final reckoning.
Tim said: “Wesko soaked it all up — the rain, the atmosphere and the jumps — and gave it such a good go. It really is such fun to have him back and feeling so well. He makes it look so easy.”
‘He kept on fighting’
Claiming their second podium finish of the 2018 ERM Series, Oliver Townend and Cillnabradden Evo showed all of their class over the Alec Lochore-designed CIC3* course. Coming in just seconds over the six-minute 54-second optimum time, Oliver took second place in the final leg on 33.2 points.
“It’s nice in the current circumstances to be the best Brit again. I am thrilled for the horse and his owner Sally-Anne Egginton. He’s very special and dug deep all the way. After each jump he picked up, took a deep breath and kept on fighting. It is very special to come back and finish second in the final ERM leg of 2018,” said Oliver.
Taking their run of international clear jumping rounds to and amazing 20 after a clear round over the coloured poles, Emily Philp and Camembert climbed a huge 12 places to finish in third place behind Oliver and Chris.
On her cross-country round, Emily said: “I had an amazing ride. What a great horse. It hasn’t sunk in yet; it’s an absolute dream come true to be up here, especially with these two [riders].”
You can watch highlights from the Event Rider Masters final leg at Blair Castle on Monday September 3 at 8.30pm EST by signing up to Horse & Country!