Leg 4: Owen Pugh Burgham International

Last year’s Land Rover Burghley CCI4* winners Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class reaffirmed their superiority at Burgham International Horse Trials, taking the principal Newton Hall CIC3* class.

The grey Ballaghmor Class, owned by Karyn Shuter, Angela Hislop and Val Ryan, was fifth after dressage with a score of 27.8, but rose up the order with a perfect clear round in the show jumping and an effortlessly fast cross country performance for just 1.2 time-faults.

“That showjumping round was possibly the best I have ever done at an event,” said Oliver, who is the current world number one. “He needed a run to sharpen him up a bit, and the ground was so good that we were able to exactly what was needed. This was the perfect preparation for whatever the autumn brings.”

The dressage leaders Nicola Wilson and One Two Many took second place in the Newton Hall CIC3*, having collected a handful of time penalties in both the show jumping and the cross country, while Northumberland-based Ben Hobday was third on Ciletto H.

Leg 3: Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International

Whilst Pippa Funnell had dominated the dressage phase and remained in the lead ahead of cross country with Billy Beware, she kept her foot off the accelerator across country, time penalties dropping the pair to eighth place. This opened the way for Laura Collett and Mr Bass to take the class with their dressage score finish. Laura also finished sixth on Dacapo and seventh on Billy Bounce.

“I’m really pleased with how Mr Bass went in all three phases, especially the dressage as we have struggled with that in the past. It was nice to have a really smooth run before Luhmuhlen.”

Jesse Campbell and Amsterdam II took the runner up spot, ahead of Franky Reid-Warrilow riding Dolley Whisper.

Leg 2: Belton International

It was a very emotional Jonty Evans who lifted the 2018 Lycetts Grantham Cup at Belton. The Irishman hit the headlines last year when he successfully crowd-funded £500,000 to buy his Rio 2016 Olympic partner Cooley Rorkes Drift (aka ‘Art’) when the previous owner decided to sell – this is a horse who has, literally, thousands of owners.

With very red, damp eyes Jonty confessed: “I’ve never even won an Advanced class, let alone an international. This is amazing. Art is the horse who has given me the most pleasure and the most grief in one go over the years. What people did for me in securing our partnership is unprecedented in our sport.

“This win is the fairydust; a good performance was what we needed [with Badminton looming]. Everyone wants this horse to go well, my phone hasn’t stopped pinging.”

Runner up behind Jonty was Piggy French, also riding a Badminton bound horse, Vanir Kamira, on whom she took the runner up spot at Burghley last year. “Given the results were so close, of course I wish I’d gone a bit quicker – she can easily go faster, but this was a prep run and with the spring we’ve had today wasn’t the day to push.

“Jonty’s win is great for the sport. So many people supported him last year, this is a great result for all of them too.”

Gemma Tattersall completed the top three, but not on her top horse Arctic Soul who was very strong out on course, picking up an uncharacteristic run out in his exuberance. Instead it was Pamero 4 who put Gemma on the podium.

Leg 1: Barefoot Retreats Burnham Market International

Abandoned due to heavy rain