Leicester Mercury

Imogen charges into top 10 after dressage disaster

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

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