Cross Country

2017 Fence List

2017 Course Notes

By Capt Mark Phillips CVO
Burghley Cross Country Course Designer 2005–2017

We are taking a clockwise route for the third consecutive year. To achieve the optimum time going this way round Burghley Park is significantly more difficult, so it will be fascinating to see how many riders choose to take alternative routes of which there are more options than ever this year.

There is less intensity in the first two minutes as horses and riders set out in familiar fashion to settle the nerves over the Olympic Legacy (1) and Lambert’s Sofa (2). By the time they reach the Fairfax Saddles Table (3) in front of the House they will be well under way and settling into a good rhythm.

The Lion Bridge (4) is a daunting prospect off a short approach and riders have learnt to be a little cautious as they come down the steep slope to enter the water to go under the centre arch and away over the Range Rover Velar Boat Trailer.

Horses then gallop alongside the Lake to the Anniversary Splash (5). The Double Brush is large but wont hold too many fears, however the Log into the Lake is much less forgiving than last year’s Brush and will need respect as horses approach on a bending line over undulating ground.

The Lakeside Corners (6) are the first major decision. Do riders run the risk of the big right handed corner or take time out to jump the much simpler; Step, Seat, left hand Corner option or take the complete scenic route over the Double Brush. Taking advantage of your horse’s strengths and allowing for its weaknesses is the secret here.

The Collyweston Slate Mine (7) is massive and commands respect.  Capability’s Cutting (8) is more simple than yesteryear but the Hedge on the downslope still looks enormous.

Storm Doris (9,10,11) take competitors into a new part of the Park, down by the Lake in front of the House. Here the quick route is a Log followed by a very big Log Corner two strides later on the right or a left hand Corner, a bending three strides to a Log plus five more strides to a narrow Log. This time it’s the left hand side that is simpler but more time consuming.

Riders will then have time to think as they make the climb up to the Winners’ Avenue (12) and the Cottesmore Leap (13),  now considered to be the worlds most scary fence in Eventing.

Quite quickly afterwards but not related, there is the Arched Roll Top (14) before turning to the four minute mark and the new Keeper’s Brushes (15). Here again there is an option, either the two Triple Brushes requiring accuracy or the more energy sapping Double Brushes.

Riders now approach the most difficult part of the course at the Land Rover Dairy Farm (16,17) where they start with a choice of Gates. On top of the mound the Gate looks super scary before dropping down to a new very miss-able Corner. There are multiple options here all of which will cost valuable seconds.

The Rolex Combination (18,19) follows next having crossed back over Capability’s Cutting. I believe this is the most difficult complex on the course. For the brave, they have an Oxer with four forward strides to an angled rail over a ditch and then another four strides to a big open Corner. Many may think an ‘S’ bend with five and five strides is more prudent and then there is an even more time consuming route on the left side. None are easy and we will see many different stride patterns.

Joules at the Maltings (20) has a totally new look with no ‘roundabout’ and no accuracy question. Power and control here is the key as riders choose between a Gate or Oxer on a mound, before turning to two maximum Oxers or their smaller time consuming cousins.

The Captain’s Log (21) is a true let up before the Land Rover Trout Hatchery (22,23) The first brushes are simple enough but it’s then decision time. The quick route is over the big Log – where last year riders got an early bath if they didn’t respect  it enough – followed by a miss-able Triple Brush four strides later and then another Triple Brush in the lower Hatchery. Of course the smaller Log, Step Out, Triple and shoulder Brushes are all simpler but more time consuming.

Many may opt for the extra effort at Herbert’s Hollow (24) in order to give their horses a bit of an easy before the Irish Horse Gateway (25) and Discovery Valley (26,27). World Horse Welfare, our official charity for this year, will have a presence at fence 24 and their famous rescue pony Clippy will be stabled alongside no doubt watching all the action.

The Discoveries have a different look but will again need a lot of respect as riders must not launch their horses out over the Double Discovery if they are to solve the second part of the puzzle. Again the options will take up valuable seconds.

The Rolex Grand Slam Rails (28) are not as simple as they look and the FEI Classics Leaf Pit (29,30) takes on a completely new look. The left side is the quickest as horses jump a cabin before the dramatic descent to two narrow Triple Bars on a two stride bending line. The right side has a smaller cabin and the two Triple Bars are on an easier straighter way.

It’s then back to Discovery Valley (31) where riders jump a Glider Trailer followed three strides later by a Discovery on the back side of the ditch. Hopefully this will prove to be more of a speed bump rather than a scary question. As riders make the climb up the hill to the ten minute mark, the Arena Homecoming (32) is decorative but not too difficult.

After exiting the Arena all should enjoy the gallop home in front of the House over the Picnic Table (33) and the Land Rover Finale (34).

Riders are going to have to determine the best ‘game plan’ for their own particular horse. This is a classic Burghley track and whoever wins will be a true champion and certainly deserve to take home the Land Rover prize money.