Australian star leads after tough day of cross country Burghley

Burghley Horse Trials 2016   crowds watching the dressage EMN-160209-151621009
Burghley Horse Trials 2016 crowds watching the dressage EMN-160209-151621009

Australian Chris Burton is in pole position to win the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in Lincolnshire after a punishing day of cross-country action.

Australian Chris Burton is in pole position to win the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials after a punishing day of cross-country action today (September 3).

Burghley Horse Trials 2016    Dressage day 2  Oliver Townend EMN-160209-150858009

Burghley Horse Trials 2016 Dressage day 2 Oliver Townend EMN-160209-150858009

Burton, the leader following dressage, is a mammoth 11.5 penalties clear of the field on Nobilis 18, meaning he can afford to have two fences down in Sunday’s showjumping finale and still triumph.

He would be the first Australian champion at Burghley since Lucinda Fredericks 10 years ago if he prevails and secures a £63,000 top prize.

Burton, a member of Australia’s bronze medal-winning eventing team at the Rio Olympics, collected just 3.2 cross-country time penalties on a day when not one of 70 starters finished inside the optimum time of 11 minutes 11 seconds.

New Zealanders Tim Price (Ringwood Sky Boy) and Andrew Nicholson (Nereo) lie second and third respectively, with Price’s Jonelle holding fourth spot aboard Classic Moet.

Burghley Horse Trials 2016   rider Tina Cook signing autographs EMN-160209-151541009

Burghley Horse Trials 2016 rider Tina Cook signing autographs EMN-160209-151541009

Shropshire-based Oliver Townend is the leading British rider in 10th spot on Samuel Thomas II, but he retired MHS KIng Joules on cross-country after lying fifth overnight.

Burghley Horse Trials 2016  crowds visiting the event EMN-160209-151502009

Burghley Horse Trials 2016 crowds visiting the event EMN-160209-151502009