By James Reid at Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials
Zara Tindall hailed the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials as her sport’s pinnacle event after posting the fourth-best dressage score on day one.
Tindall, on mount Class Affair, scored 28.4 in front of a bumper crowd in Stamford, Lincolnshire to put herself in a strong position going into Saturday’s cross-country.
The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials are back bigger and better than ever after two years away due to Covid-19, and Tindall is thrilled to be back at one of eventing’s biggest stages.
“We love being at Burghley,” said Tindall, who finished second back in 2003.
“We love being at the big competitions, that’s why we do it day in day out, build a relationship with the horses to make sure you can be at the best competitions, and this is the best competition in the world.”
Tindall, who lives on the Gatcombe Park estate owned by her mother Princess Anne, was thrilled with her efforts in the arena as the sun beat down in Lincolnshire.
But the 41-year-old admitted competing at the very top doesn’t get easier, despite now having plenty of 5* events under her belt.
“It was amazing,” she added. “I’m so happy to be under 30 and kind of tagging along the leaders.
“I’m really pleased with him, he’s come along so much.
“The competition keeps going, keeps getting better, at the beginning you don’t know what to expect, whereas now, you’ve been through it and there are always scenarios that you’ve got to deal with - but that’s the competition.”
Tindall now goes into the notoriously gruelling cross-country test on Saturday, which will attract fans from across the world to see the best horses eventing has to offer tackle the unforgiving hills of Burghley.
There is a new course designer, with Derek di Grazia having succeeded Tindall’s father, Captain Mark Phillips.
But the Queen’s granddaughter believes Class Affair has a top performance in the tank on his day.
“It’s good, there are big bits,” added Tindall on the course.
“He’s got all the scope in the world, but it’s the brain with him, hopefully he listens to me, and I’ll tell him where to go and he can do the rest,
“He’s just a little bit tricky, but he’s so talented that hopefully, he can pull it off.”
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