By Tom Masters at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials
Tom Jackson's incredible cross-country run gave him every chance of Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials success at the first time of asking.
Jackson, 29, finished his run on Derek di Grazia’s freshly designed cross-country course in 11 minutes and 29 seconds, just nine seconds over the optimum time – which was met by just one of the 52 riders on the start list.
Those 3.6 penalty points added to his dressage score of 28.9 on Friday, which sees the Godalming equestrian sitting in fourth ahead of Sunday’s show jumping finale.
And Jackson was ecstatic that all the hard work over the years has paid off.
He said: “You work so hard and put in the long hours for that really.
“Days like today are what it’s all about, when it all comes together it is just great, I’m over the moon.
“I wanted to come here and show how good he is, I know he’s a good horse, he’s done one 5* before, and he learned a lot from that.
“So I was really hoping to be up there at the top end of things, and hopefully we’ll stay there and he’ll jump as well as he did again tomorrow.”
Jackson was held on the course at one point, on what was a tough day for the riders, with 21 of the 52 riders not making it around the iconic Lincolnshire course.
It was a course designed by American di Grazia, taking over from long time designer Captain Mark Phillips, and it was proven to be a challenging one.
But Jackson was not overly bothered with the break in his run, as horse Capels Hollow Drift showed his class.
“It was probably six of one and half a dozen of the other really,” he said.
“He got the chance to recover a little bit and get some air back in his lungs, but equally he was in a really nice rhythm and was doing really well.
“The fence I restarted at definitely wasn’t one you’d necessarily choose to start at, but he’s just the ultimate professional.
“When he needed to come back he did, but when you gave him a key he was off again, so I’m over the moon with him today.”
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