Imo­gen charges into top 10 af­ter dres­sage dis­as­ter

Leicester Mercury - - Sport - Burgh­ley-horse.co.uk

HAV­ING been awarded the Bar­bara Cooper tro­phy at last year’s com­pe­ti­tion, Lut­ter­worth’s Imo­gen Mur­ray proved her po­ten­tial with a top-10 fin­ish at the 2019 Land Rover Burgh­ley Horse Tri­als.

Mur­ray and horse Ivar Gooden fin­ished sixth in the over­all stand­ings af­ter a dra­matic show jump­ing fi­nale.

Af­ter a dis­ap­point­ing dres­sage, the 26-year-old had con­sid­ered with­draw­ing from the event but re­cov­ered well in the gru­elling cross­coun­try to fin­ish the penul­ti­mate day in eighth place.

With three pre­vi­ous Burgh­ley’s un­der her belt, Mur­ray used her ex­pe­ri­ence to guide her 12-year-old geld­ing around the show jump­ing course and was de­lighted with her charge up the rank­ings.

“I’m very happy,” she said. “I’m pleased we’ve gone from the bottom up­wards rather than the other way round.

“The show jump­ing didn’t go en­tirely to plan and I think I got a lit­tle bit ner­vous.

“But he’s such a good horse and I love him to bits. I wouldn’t change him at all in the jump­ing phases.

“He doesn’t re­ally know what tired feels like and he would prob­a­bly go back into the arena and do it all over again if he could.”

The Burgh­ley Horse Tri­als is one of six five-star events in the eventing sea­son, and one third of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing.

Two days of dres­sage were fol­lowed by cross-country on Satur­day and the show jump­ing on Sun­day at Burgh­ley House, Stam­ford, which at­tracts more than 160,000 vis­i­tors each year.

This year was won by three-time Olympian Pippa Fun­nell, with Piggy French and Oliver Tow­nend sec­ond and third re­spec­tively.

Else­where Matthew Heath, 36, – who is based at a new yard be­tween Oakham and Stam­ford – was de­lighted with veteran horse The Lion, with the com­bi­na­tion fin­ish­ing 22nd at their fourth Burgh­ley.

“I’m over the moon,” he said. “I said a cou­ple of years ago that would prob­a­bly be his last Burgh­ley but he’s still here at the age of 17 pro­duc­ing re­sults like that.

“The cross-country was a re­ally tough test, but he loves this event, he loves this time of year and he rev­els on this stage.

“The day he tells me he’s ready to re­tire we won’t do a day more at this level, but he hasn’t shown any signs of telling me yet.”

The multi-award win­ning Land Rover Burgh­ley Horse Tri­als has been es­tab­lished as a ma­jor in­ter­na­tional eques­trian and so­cial event in the au­tumn sport­ing cal­en­dar for over 50 years.

PETER NIXON

CLEARED: Imo­gen Mur­ray rid­ing Ivar Gooden in the cross country at Burgh­ley

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