Totemic Tim Price insists prized asset Vitali has the stamina required to swoop the top prize at the 2023 Defender Burghley Horse Trials.
The son of Contender is the world number one's sole entrant at the fabled 5* event in Lincolnshire, as he bids to regain the crown he won in 2018 with Ringwood Sky Boy.
The Chedington-based eventer, 44, finished third on board Vitali 12 months ago and Price believes he is perfectly poised to make the jump to the top of the podium this time round.
“It’s a nice stage in his career coming into a competition like this because you know how they feel along the big, long tracks and he knows how he feels as well,” said Price.
“It’s a big part of it, he understands the stamina requirement and what it’s like to keep pushing.
“He’s been here before, he was third here last year, I know his foibles and weak places and what we can do to make it a better result this time.”
Tim and wife Jonelle relocated to their new yard in Chedington earlier this year after 18 years at Mere Farm in Wiltshire.
This week, Price is swapping the rolling hills of Dorset for the magnificent 16th century Burghley House and the splendour synonymous with the four-day event.
Course designer Derek di Grazia has shaken things up a little this year, and while Price is expecting a fierce challenge, he is hoping to make it a week to remember.
“Burghley is the most special,” he said. “We have so many other things to focus on throughout the year and I always look down the track to Burghley and know that it represents the culmination of all the hard work through the season but it’s also such a special venue.
“This place lends itself to the job of horses galloping across cross-country so well.
“It brings such a knowledgeable crowd and the course is so difficult that the cream rises to the top, you get the best of the best here, and those are the ones you want to beat.”
Defender Burghley Horse Trials (31st August - 3 September 2023) has been a major international sporting and social event for over 50 years. It attracts the world’s top equestrians and over 170,000 visitors. For more information visit www.burghley-horse.co.uk