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Burghley Horse Trials - Sam Griffiths Leads after Dressage

Sam Griffiths

Sam Griffiths (AUS) and Happy Times have retained their place at the top of the leaderboard after the first day of dressage at The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials on a score of 40.2. 

Sam GriffithsSam and the 15-year-old gelding, who he owns along with Steve and Dinah Posford and Juliet Donald, hold a narrow lead over Sam's fellow countryman Andrew Hoy on Rutherglen, who slipped into second place just after lunch with an elegant, accurate test that earned them a mark of 40.8.

“Happy Times is feeling as good as ever,” said Sam. “I felt very relaxed going into the test and I think that filtered through to him. The test felt very natural.”

Right - Sam and Happy times show their winning style. Pic with thanks to Badminton web site,

Andrew, meanwhile, credits Rutherglen’s performance to help from Olympic dressage team gold medallist Laura Tomlinson.

“At Luhmuhlen [in June] I overdid the warm-up and Rutherglen didn’t do a good test at all,” he explained. “He’s an anxious horse and if he makes a mistake it worries him. Laura told me to aim for a relaxed test today – something that I could build on in the future.”

America’s Allison Springer slipped into third place with Arthur, the horse she partnered to sixth place here in 2012. The flamboyant chestnut produced a punchy, active test to score 41.2.

“This was probably his best performance here to date,” said Alison. “We made an uncharacteristic mistake with our timing in the first flying change, but luckily one of the judges didn’t notice.”

Piggy French lies fourth and is the best British rider with Westwood Mariner, while Marilyn Little (USA) and Izzy Taylor (KBIS Briarlands Matilda) complete the top six.

Dressage resumes at 10am tomorrow when Tim Cheffings will be first into the arena with Alinero Van Het Scharenberg. William Fox-Pitt (Bay My Hero) and Andrew Nicholson (Avebury) - two of the bookies’ favourites for the title - will perform their tests tomorrow afternoon.

Australia’s Shane Rose did not start with CP Qualified as the horse did not pass the vet inspection.

Pictures of Sam from Badminton HT web site and from his sponsor Zebra Products

For the full Burghley results, click here

Story from Burghley Horse Trials web site – Go to