Chris Burton has won the 2018 Event Rider Masters series in fine style, taking the title in the final leg at Blair Castle.
Chris was second after the dressage with Graf Liberty, but then dropped to fourth after having a pole in the showjumping, which is the 13-year-old gelding’s weakest phase.
However, the pair moved to the top of the table after the cross-country, as they were the only combination to make the optimum time in dire weather conditions.
“I was very nervous before I set out, worried that I would do something silly like jump the wrong fence,” Chris admitted afterwards. “I’m stoked the horse ran so well and it’s great to have won not just the leg, but the series.”
Emily King on Dargun, who were in the lead going into the final phase, pulled up early on the course, while Oliver Townend and Cillnabradden Evo picked up 2.8 time penalties.
Oliver finished the dressage in first place, but also had a showjump down and needed to make the optimum time to stay ahead of Chris.
‘Gary’ gave it his all, but the heavy going after several hours of relentless rain proved too much.
“I’m thrilled, both for the horse and for his owner, Sally-Anne Egginton,” said Oliver. “He’s a very special horse. He doesn’t really have the gallop for this sort of going, but he dug deep and after every fence took a deep breath and picked himself up again.”
The most surprised rider on the podium was third placed Emily Philp who was riding Camembert. They added just 2.4 cross-country time penalties to their dressage score.
“I was daring myself not to take a pull,” she said. “He gave me an amazing ride, this hasn’t sunk in yet.”
Chris has been on great form in the 2018 ERM, as the series suits his fast and fearless cross-country riding. It has also been a good season for Laura Collett, who finished the series in second place, ahead of New Zealand’s Tim Price in third.
Don’t miss the final thrilling leg of the Event Rider Masters when it premieres on Horse & Country on Monday 3 September at 8.30pm.