The Fairfax & Favor 5 to follow at the Defender Burghley Horse Trials 2023

The Fairfax & Favor 5 to follow at the Defender Burghley Horse Trials 2023
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by Nicole Brown,

First Published: 30 Aug, 2023

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We can’t wait to welcome new and old friends back to Fairfax & Favor’s biggest stand yet at the Defender Burghley Horse Trials this week and to give you the inside line on some of the leading contenders this year we have teamed up with presenter, Burghley TV commentator and host of the EquiRatings Eventing Podcast, Nicole Brown, to find some combinations to look out for this week…

The Fashion

One of the best moments of any big event is the first horse inspection, it’s a chance to get a really good look at each of the horses (and riders) starting the competition and the buzz is always palpable. Will everyone pass? Which horse will throw the best shapes? Whose hat will fly off? Who has played it safe and who has been a little risqué with their outfit choice?! This year Fairfax & Favor are the official sponsors of the Horse Inspections too so even more reason to tune in. It will be broadcast live on Burghley TV so if you aren’t able to make it in person then you can still enjoy following along.

The Favourite

It’s the one we all want to know the answer to, who will win? Well, the numbers have been crunched and the favourite to take the top spot on the EquiRatings Prediction Centre is Oliver Townend and Swallow Springs (14% win chance). Swallow Springs has finished in the top-10 at CCI5* level on four occasions, including here at Burghley when he was 3rd in 2018 with New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson. Oliver also has his other three entered rides feature inside the top-6 on the Prediction Centre so he’ll certainly be one to watch as he searches for his third Burghley win.

The Comeback-kid

Tom McEwen and Toledo de Kerser were fourth here on their only visit to Burghley in 2017, that’s Tom’s best placing here at Burghley too. Seven long years later and we get to see what they make of it in 2023. There is no doubting Tom’s brilliance and if in touch on Sunday then look-out, Toledo is one of the best jumpers in the field.

The US Challengers

The last US winner of Burghley was 30 years ago, this year they have a small but mighty hand in the entry list. Boyd Martin, who had two horses inside the top-10 at Luhmuhlen CCI5* earlier this summer, lines up with his Tokyo ride Tsetserleg TSF and his Maryland CCI5* winner from 2021, On Cue. Both horses are also well worth following on Instagram if you like that kind of thing too and @always.on.cue.

Jennie Saville brings forward FE Lifestyle, 5th at Maryland CCI5* last year, and Will Faudree lines up with one of my absolute horse crushes in Mama’s Magic Way who has completed Badminton, Maryland and Kentucky (twice). Grace Taylor makes her CCI5* debut also.

The Speed Kings

Austin O’Connor and Colorado Blue were the fastest combination on the cross-country at Badminton earlier this year and went on to finish third. They’re experienced at this level now and Burghley has been a real target for this pair all season. Burghley’s always a time-test and Austin will be hoping to use that to his advantage this weekend.

The Debutante

Emily King and Valmy Biats have been knocking on the door of a big result for some time. They were top-10 at Pau last year and have won and been on the podium at CCI4*S level at Thorseby and Burgham already this season. Emily had a dream debut at five-star back in 2015 on Brookleigh at Pau when she finished fourth, she’d absolutely love a repeat on her Burghley debut.

It's a tough old ask narrowing the field down and this list omits the likes of Ros Canter , Tim Price and Zara Tindall who all stand a great chance. Who are you most looking forward to watching? Drop us a comment and let us know.

Make sure you tune into the Eventing Podcast Burghley Tour Diaries, which will be bringing you all of the behind-the-scenes action and everything you need to know about the competition. Plus tune in to Burghley TV for your access-all-areas pass to the competition.

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