Burghley Horse Trials: Joy and despair for Melton riders

Willa and Chance Remark jumped clear in Burghley's teak tough cross country test EMN-180509-124753002
Willa and Chance Remark jumped clear in Burghley's teak tough cross country test EMN-180509-124753002
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There was joy and deep disappointment after a weekend of contrasting fortunes for our four-star riders Willa Newton and Emilie Chandler at the Burghley International Horse Trials.

Stonesby event rider Newton toasted a best-ever four-star result in the UK with a eighth-place finish aboard Chance Remark.

The Stonesby horse and rider were well in the hunt in 24th after Thursday's dressage test EMN-180509-124741002

The Stonesby horse and rider were well in the hunt in 24th after Thursday's dressage test EMN-180509-124741002

And Chandler looked set to join her in the upper echelons of the elite international field after Cooper’s Law produced a personal best dressage score of 31.

Competing in their first Burghley test since 2015, the combination were tantalisingly placed in 13th, with their stronger disciplines to come.

But after a terrific start to Saturday’s cross country test, the Stathern rider retired the horse after sustaining a galloping injury between fences 13 and 14.

“I just felt him change his stride pattern and thankfully I pulled up immediately,” she told the Melton Times.

Emilie gave Cooper's Law his four-star debut at Burghley in 2015 EMN-180509-125442002

Emilie gave Cooper's Law his four-star debut at Burghley in 2015 EMN-180509-125442002

“Time is a great healer and he will be given the best chance to make a full recovery.

“I will remember the wonderful ride he was giving me until that moment, and what a privilege it was to be riding at Burghley again.

“I look forward to competing there again in the future.”

Injury seemed to have also curtailed Newton’s hopes of even competing at Burghley after breaking her collarbone in a novice cross country event at Buckminster just six weeks before.

But a breakthrough four-star result with Chance Remark of fifth in June at Luhmuhlen, Germany, left her determined to see what he could do at Burghley.

And Austen duly delivered. After lying 24th after dressage, they jumped clear over a tough cross country course, carrying just 5.8 time faults to rocket up to 11th.

The 28-year-old then repeated the clear in Sunday’s show jumping finale to finish eighth and become the youngest rider to finish in the world-class top 10.

“Although we had an interrupted preparation for Burghley, I was determined to build on our good fifth result in the Luhmuhlen four-star,” she said.

“Austen felt amazing all week, from start to finish.

“He came out of cross country so well and it was such a thrill to be show jumping in the final top 10. The atmosphere was electric.”

She added: “I would like to thank Feena and Peter for all their support and giving me this opportunity, and the team at Jack Berry House in Malton for getting me back in the saddle in time.”