By James Reid at Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials
Cathal Daniels is hoping a strong cross-country performance will propel him up the rankings at Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials after a disappointing dressage test.
Daniels and horse Rioghan Rua ended the day 29th with a score of 33.5 ahead of Saturday’s famous cross-country challenge.
Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials returns in 2022 for the first time since 2019, after two missed years due to Covid-19, and crowds have flocked to Stamford, Lincolnshire to see the very best of eventing.
And Daniels admitted that the big crowds may have impacted Rioghan Rua’s performance in the arena on Friday.
“It’s a good atmosphere, it’s Friday evening so it’s a big crowd and it’s quite electric,” said Daniels.
“My horse unfortunately feels every bit and that probably led to the mistakes we made but we’ve got to move on and try again tomorrow.
“Dressage wasn’t as good as we’d hoped, there were enough mistakes to keep me out of the top running which is disappointing, but I think tomorrow will thin out the competition.
“Hopefully we’ll have a good run so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Daniels, who is base in Tully East in the Curragh, is making his debut at the iconic 5* event and is delighted to be doing it on long-term steed Rioghan Rua.
The pair have been together for nearly a decade, and the 25-year-old believes their bond makes making it to Burghley even more special.
“It’s an amazing partnership,” he added.
“We started doing championships when he was six and we’ve been doing them nearly every year since from juniors up to 5* and everything in between.
“She’s been an incredible servant to eventing in Ireland so I’m very lucky to have her.”
The pair now face Burghley’s famous cross-country course, this year designed by Tokyo Olympic course designer Derek di Grazia.
And Daniels knows they will have to give it their all to get round cleanly.
“There’s plenty of big jumping,” said Daniels.
“My horse is small so she’s going to have to try hard everywhere but it’s technical enough in the beginning to catch out a horse that’s not concentrating.
“It’s a long way round with tough terrain so it’s going to take a horse with a lot of engine.”
Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (1-4 September 2022) returns after a two-year hiatus, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A major international sporting and social event for over 50 years it attracts 80 of the world’s top equestrians and over 170,000 visitors. For more information visit