McCarthy looking forward to true five-star cross country test tomorrow

  • 1 September 2023, 16:33
It’s all to play for in the CCI5* Burghley Horse Trials ahead of cross country 

2018 World Equestrian Games silver medallist Padraig McCarthy is the best of the Irish trio in action in the 2023 Defender Burghley Horse Trials following the dressage phase.

McCarthy and the Irish Sport Horse HHS Noble Call are on a score of 34.9 following the first two days of competition and the completion of the dressage phase. Separated only by their collective marks, fellow Irish rider Austin O’Connor, and his Badminton mount Colorado Blue, is also on a score of 34.9. Both riders sit inside the top 30. Not far behind is Sam Watson and SAP Talisman (ISH)[TIH] on 35.4.

New Zealand’s Tim Price and Vitali top the leader board on 18.7 – the best dressage score ever to be recorded at the CCI5*-L event.

Britain’s Oliver Townend sits in second and third with two Irish Sport Horses. He is in second on 24.2 with Swallow Springs (ISH), and in third with Ballaghmor Class (ISH) also on 24.2.

There are a further two Irish Sport Horses inside the top ten after dressage. Game Changer (ISH) is in seventh with Grace Taylor for America and Pippa Funnell and Majas Hope (ISH)[TIH] are in eighth.

The five-start event is set to be true cross country test. Speaking after his dressage McCarthy said: “I think it’s more technical than last year, I think it’s maybe more horse friendly. This year we’ll see a lot of glance offs.

“I think Derek di Grazia, the course designer, is really starting to put his mark on it and normally we see in his courses problems all over the course and I think we’re going to see that tomorrow. It’s a real five star.”



HHS Noble Call (ISH) – 2011 gelding by Heritage Fortunus (HANN) out of Noblina (ISH) by Cavalier Royale (HOLST). Breeder: Anne Hughes, Co Kilkenny. Owner: Alan Chaffe, James Chaffe and Padraig McCarthy. Rider: Padraig McCarthy (IRL)

SAP Talisman (ISH)[TIH] – 2011 gelding by Puissance (ISH) out of Ali Row (IRE) by Ali-Royal (IRE). Breeder: Rosemary Ponsonby, Co Tipperary. Owner: Hannah Watson and Julia Watson. Rider: Sam Watson (IRL)

Swallow Springs (ISH) – 2008 gelding by Chillout (ISH) out of Killia (ISH) by Cult Hero (CAN). Breeder: Maria Keating, Co Galway. Owner: Paul and Diana Ridgeon. Rider: Oliver Townend (GBR)

Ballaghmor Class (ISH) – 2007 gelding by Courage II (HOLST) out of Kilderry Place (ISH). Breeder: Noel Hickey, Co Limerick. Owner: Karyn Shuter, Angela Hislop and Val Ryan. Rider: Oliver Townend (GBR)

Game Changer (ISH) – 2012 gelding by Cassidee (SWB) out of Stormchaser (TB) by Titus Livius (TB). Breeder: Liam Webb (Carlow). Rider: Grace Taylor (USA)

Majas Hope (ISH)[TIH] – 2007 gelding by Porter Rhodes (TB) out of Brown Sue (ISH)[TIH] by Flagmount King (ID). Breeder: Jack Murphy (Kilkenny). Rider: Pippa Funnell (GBR)