Price believes 'Burghley specialist' Classic Moet can fire her up the standings

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

Jonelle Price hopes riding one of the best cross-country horses around can propel her up the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials standings this weekend, writes James Reid.

Price and mount Classic Moet posted a score of 32.2 to sit 11th after day one, but the Marlborough-based Kiwi rider knows there is still a long way to go.

Burghley is back for the first time since 2019 after two years away due to Covid-19 and Price admitted it had been frustrating missing out with a horse built for the competition's undulating terrain.

But with Burghley back bigger and better than ever, Price is relishing the chance of taking on the event’s notoriously gruelling cross-country course.

“It’s great to be back,” said Price. “Particularly a horse like Classic Moet, who’s a through and through Badminton and Burghley specialist.

“She’s really missed not being able to participate these past few years.

“I’m certainly sitting on one of the best in the business, and it’s my job to try and do well and she’ll certainly answer the questions.

“Burghley is the ultimate endurance test, the terrain here is like no other, and you really don’t know how you’re going to get on until you go out there sometimes.

“I know she makes the trip, I know she can make the trip fast, so there are going to be no excuses for me come Saturday.”

Burghley returns for the first time since 2019 and while much is the same as it ever was, there are changes too.

Long-time course designer Captain Mark Phillips has been succeeded by American Derek di Grazia, who boasts the Tokyo Olympic course on his CV.

But Price, whose husband Tim is also riding three horses at Burghley, is not overthinking any potential changes to the course on which she finished third in 2016, and is hoping to channel all her previous experience.

“I’ve just had a look yesterday,” said Price.

“I’m obviously sitting on this girl who has been around the block a few times, it’s probably a bit easy to look through rose-tinted glasses on that first walk, but I’ll certainly go out there today and try and look at it from more of a clean slate perspective.

“It makes it easier in one sense, returning, and it makes it harder in another.

“She’s so well-known for her cross country prowess that I almost feel more pressure leaving the start blocks on her now than ever before.”

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