Oliver Townend claimed the second Land Rover Bughley Horse Trials title of his eventing career as British riders dominated a thrilling final day’s action in Lincolnshire.
The Shropshire-based Yorkshireman became a first British winner at Burghley since William Fox-Pitt six years ago as he guided 10-year-old Ballaghmor Class to victory and a £90,000 top prize.
Despite having one fence down and collecting a time fault, Townend did just enough to edge out Piggy French and Vanir Kamira after they jumped clear to pile pressure on Townend.
But the 34-year-old, who helped Great Britain to team gold at last month’s European Championships in Poland, held his nerve and claimed a second Burghley triumph eight years after his first.
French finished 1.3 penalties behind Townend on 46.9, with reigning British Open and Event Riders Masters champion Gemma Tattersall taking third aboard Arctic Soul after they had a fence down, and Tom McEwen completing all four top places for British riders with Toledo De Kerser.
Reflecting on his triumph, Townend said: “It is good to get another one out of the way. It has felt like a long time.
“It is a tough job, but I have got so much faith in this horse and I am glad he proved me right.
“We had a showjumping fence down, and sometimes he is still a little bit babyish with the crowds, but this is a very special moment.”
Townend won Badminton and Burghley in 2009 - the last rider to achieve that feat at British eventing’s top two competitions - and his latest achievement provided another memorable day for new Great Britain performance coach Chris Bartle.
Bartle, who took the reins earlier this year after masterminding Germany’s domination of world eventing, has already overseen European team gold during his time in charge, and now witnessed a Burghley clean sweep of the top four positions.