Cross Country at Saumur CCI3*

       Chris Burton and Holstein Park Leilani                         Photo: Les Garennes


Cross country day was wet at Saumur and proved to be a challenge for many riders but the Australian riders dominated the field by the end of the day.


It was raining even harder when the first rider, Julian Stiller (USA), went into the starting box and only a few fences later, she decided to retire.


With his first mount Haruzac, Chris Burton (AUS), 10th at the provisional ranking, ran a safe course and came back home with some time penalties. That was surely a way to prepare his second tour. Some minutes later, the nasty fall of his team mate Clayton Fredericks with his first horse, Be My Guest, threw cold water on the competition. The rescue team took care of him immediately and transferred him to Saumur's hospital. Later in the day, some relatively good news came to us: Clayton suffers a ribcage crushing and after a scanner exam, the doctors decided to transport him to Angers' hospital to be placed under medical supervision as a precaution.


After a 30 minutes stop, the competition started again. Nobody succeeded in being inside the time allowed (9'14'') and the numerous incidents on the course encouraged the other riders to slow down a bit, especially those who were in Saumur to give more experience to their mount. But Chris Burton wanted to prove again that he was ready for an Olympic selection by stopping the clock at 9'26'' with his second horse Holstein Park Leilani. This meant he had the best time overall!


Laura Collett's insight yesterday was sadly right. She was eliminated at fence n° 25C, the second water complex. And Tiana Coudray (USA), who clearly announced that she and her horse were not so experienced, suffered one refusal on fence n° 15A, a tricky double brush where 11 other riders encountered problems. This allowed Chris Burton to take both the lead and the 2nd place after the cross country test.


       Bill Levett and Hippolyte                                                        Photo: Libby Law

Australian riders definitely dominate this event with Bill Levett lying in 4th and 5th (riding One Two Many NJ and Hippolyte), and Paul Tapner now at 6th and 11th places (respectively with Kilronan and Wickstead Didgeridoo).


      Paul Tapner and Kilronan                                          Photo: Libby Law

Due to a refusal of his mare Princess Pilot, Nicolas Touzaint is no more the best French rider, and has been replaced by current French Champion Donatien Schauly, now 3rd on Pivoine des Touches. But Chris Burton can put one fence down tomorrow in the SJ test to keep the lead and bring back home his first victory in Saumur.

Here's what Chris had to say about his rides (with a big grin on his face!) to Xavier Boudon immediately after cross country


Check out the cross country day PHOTO GALLERY HERE

Provisional results CCI3*