Townend already has eye on next tilt at Burghley

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OLIVER Townend insists he will return to the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials with a vengeance next year after failing to claim top honours on the final day.

Townend went into Sunday’s showjumping finale in third place aboard Armada, but picked up 16 faults which left him eighth overall.

Victory went to 53-year-old Andrew Nicholson, winner for a record third time on Avebury, but Townend is still only 31 and has high hopes for 2015’s renewal.

“I enjoyed the week but would have liked to do a bit better, but I’ll try to rectify that next year,” said Townend, event winner in 2009 on Carousel Quest.

“That’s the reason I’ve got the ride on Armada, he’s an ex-Andrew Nicholson horse and looking at the way that Andrew’s horse jumped you can see why he doesn’t need Armada in his yard.

“It’s never as disappointing as people think when you’re in that situation. Obviously I expected to get better tunes out of him, but you get good days and bad days out of him and the showjumping wasn’t a good day.

“The cross-country didn’t affect him and was nothing to do with it, to be honest. The atmosphere didn’t play a factor either and if it’s bothering him then it’s about time that he gave up. He’s been here enough times so things like that shouldn’t affect him.

“It’s a fantastic event and it’s still extremely special for me and to everyone that comes here, but I look forward to coming back every year.

“I’ll definitely be back next year and hopefully we can do a little bit better and finish a little bit further up the leader board.”

The multi-award winning Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (September 4-7) has been established as a major international equestrian and social event in the Autumn Sporting Calendar for over 50 years. For more information visit www.burghley-horse.co.uk.