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Paget Storms to the Front at Burghley

Paget Storms to the Front at Burghley

It’s New Zealand on top at the end of the dressage phase at the Land Rover Burghley International Horse Trials in the UK this morning.

Jock Paget rode a stunner to guide his former race horse and Badminton champ Clifton Promise (owned by Frances Stead) to the front with a 36.7 penalty point test, which included their first 10 at four star level.

Defending champion Andrew Nicholson didn’t disappoint either, with his 41.3 test on Nereo (owned by Libby Sellar). Paget and Clifton Lush (owned by Lucy Allison and Frances Stead) are in fifth equal spot on 42, with Nicholson and Avebury (owned by Mark and Rosemary Barlow) in seventh on 42.3.

Paget and Nicholson are both looking forward to Captain Mark Phillips’ cross country course, which is being described as a true four star by most. But no-one is taking anything for granted.

“There is still a long way to go,” says Paget. “The showjumping can bring a good horse down.”

However, he’s not here for second place.

“I am here to win and it is not about anything other than winning, so I will do what I think is the best thing to help me do that.”

Nicholson is quite content to be just behind the leaders – albeit by less than five penalty points.

“I don’t mind having to chase the couple in front down,” said the world number one. “It is all pretty close and exciting.”

With three horses – all in the top 18 – he’s in for a busy cross country day.
“Hopefully I should be alright (by the time he gets to Nereo, who is his last to go) and hopefully the first two will have gone superbly so I will be feeling confident and very fresh . . . if they have gone badly I may not be so lively but I will be determined either way!”

He says the course has been cleverly designed.

“The last few years have been very big attacking type fences, and this year in the first half, Mark has been clever in trying to slow us down and burn up a lot of energy.”

Nicholson says horses will tire quickly on the undulating ground.

“They are not big hills . . . they are little mounds up and down and around, which is tiring for the horses. It is hard to keep your concentration. Then, when you get to the second half, he opens it all up which is when you suddenly think you can chase the clock down but the horse is tired, so you make more mistakes.”

He says it is a good course but one that has to be ridden right to the end.
“I think all my horses are very capable of going round.”

However, Nereo, with his massive and powerful stride, will not be a fan of the undulations.

“But he has been here before and done other courses like this,” says Nicholson. “He knows he isn’t here just for a feed and a stay away in the stable yard. He knows what he is here for and I am sure he will do his job properly.”

Results -
Jock Paget (NZL) Clifton Promise (owned by Frances Stead) 36.7 penalty points 1, Ingrid Klimke (GER) FRH Butts Abraxxas 39 2, Andrew Nicholson (NZL) Nereo (owned by Libby Sellar) 41.3 3, William Fox-Pitt (GBR) Parklane Hawk 41.5 4, Jonathan Paget (NZL) Clifton Lush (owned by Frances Stead and Lucy Allison) and Andreas Dibowski (GER) FRH Butts Leon 42 =5, Andrew Nicholson (NZL) Avebury (owned by Mark and Rosemary Barlow) 42.3 7, Jonelle Richards (NZL) The Deputy (owned by Lucy Sangster) 46.2 12, Andrew Nicholson (NZL) Calico Joe and Sir Mark Todd (NZL) Oloa (owned by Diane Brunsden, Peter Cattell and Pip McCarrol) 48.3 =18, Lucy Jackson (NZL) Willy Do (owned by Gillian Greenlees and Jackson) 48.7 =20, Neil Spratt (NZL) Upleadon (owned by Sharon Robbins, Annitta Engel and Spratt) 52 30, Sir Mark Todd (NZL) Ravenstar (owned by team Rutledge Recruitment and Training) 55.5 =41, Jonelle Richards (NZL) Flintstar (owned by Darnelle Hubbard, Tim Price and Mrs K Gray) 58.2 =53.

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