Owen targeting quick run on Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials cross-country course

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The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials are back bigger and better than ever this year after a two-year hiatus (Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials)

Michael Owen is targeting a speedy run on the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials’ iconic cross-country course on Saturday writes James Reid.

Owen, 43, scored 38.6 on day two of the dressage at the eagerly awaited return of Burghley after a three-year gap due to Covid-19.

But despite the less-than perfect opening to the iconic Lincolnshire event, the Kelsall equestrian was already looking ahead to Saturday’s cross country – believing that his score leaves him and horse Bradeley Law competitive before the showpiece event.

He said: “I was pleased, he was quite relaxed actually, he does get on edge when he knows he’s at Burghley, he’s always got hot with the clapping and the atmosphere.

“So a sub 40 score believe it or not, I’m actually quite happy with because he can easily climb up the leader board tomorrow.

“Bradeley Law is a proper machine, he’s 18, but he’s probably the fittest I’ve ever had him.

“So I reckon I could get quite close to the optimum time tomorrow.”

Much has been made this year of the changing of the guard with the course designer, as American Derek di Grazia takes over from Captain Mark Phillips for his first Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.

And despite the big changes between the two designers, Owen believes that di Grazia has designed a competitive track at the first time of asking.

“It’s a great track, it’s very different from a Mark Phillips track and there are lots of corners and arrowheads,” he said.

“But you have to really think once you are coming out of the arena, you need to be really thinking every fence.

“I think he’s very clever how he’s placed the fences along the terrain, so there are going to be a lot of 20s scored tomorrow - fingers crossed I’ll be the one that goes clear!.”

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 www.burghley-horse.co.uk