Burghley Horse Trials: Townend sends reminder to GB selectors
|Burghley Horse Trials|
|Venue: Burghley, Lincolnshire Dates: 30 August-1 September|
|Coverage: Sat 1 Sep: 11:00-17:15: Cross country - BBC Red Button, Sport website and app, connected TV and iPlayer Sun 2 Sep: 15:00-17:15: Highlights and show jumping - BBC Two|
Oliver Townend has sent a message to Britain's selectors after posting three of GB's four best scores to open his defence of the Burghley Horse Trials.
World number one Townend was omitted from GB's team for September's World Equestrian Games but is the leading British rider after the dressage.
New Zealand's Mark Todd and Tim Price lead the event as Sarah Bullimore and Harry Meade posted good scores for GB.
The BBC will live-stream Saturday's cross-country stage from 11:00 BST.
Leading positions after dressage
|Mark Todd||NZ||Kiltubrid Rhapsody||26.4|
|Tim Price||NZ||Ringwood Sky Boy||26.9|
|Oliver Townend||GB||MHS King Joules||27.2|
|Sarah Bullimore||GB||Reve Du Rouet||27.3|
|Oliver Townend||GB||Ballaghmor Class||27.9|
|Andreas Dibowski||Ger||FRH Butts Avedon||28.5|
|Oliver Townend||GB||Cooley SRS||29.4|
|Harry Meade||GB||Away Crusing||29.5|
|Piggy French||GB||Vanir Kamira||29.9|
|Georgie Spence||GB||Wii Limbo||30.4|
"As disappointing and frustrating as it has been to miss out on selection for the World Equestrian Games, Burghley holds a special place in my affections," said Townend.
"I have been saying quietly that this is the best bunch of horses I've had."
Townend's main opposition has come from the New Zealand pair, five-time Burghley winner Mark Todd and Tim Price, although Andreas Dibowski of Germany also made a good start in the dressage.
British challengers include the in-form Piggy French, handily placed on last year's Burghley runner-up Vanir Kamira, and Sarah Bullimore on Reve du Rouet, who is placed fourth after two days.
With three horses handily placed in the top seven, Townend has probably the best chance of victory.
Saturday's cross-country challenge is likely to be pivotal to the final positions. The course, designed Captain Mark Phillips, has raised eyebrows among the competitors.
"It is very undulating, very stamina-sapping and seriously big," said Townend. "Burghley is always big, but for me, it's the biggest one in terms of dimensions that I've seen."