A WHITCHURCH-based horse owner has taken a top 30 spot at the Burghley Horse Trials.

The challenging course proved no issue for Arthur Duffort as he came through the test with flying colours.

Duffort and horse Toronto D’Aurois finished 29th in the overall standings after a dramatic day of equine cross-country action in the second phase of competition at Burghley House, near Stamford.

The Frenchman, who runs Otis Eventing near Whitchurch, is competing at the five-star event for just a second time after making his debut in 2016.

His previous appearance saw him finish in 32nd with Herbst Golden Eclipse, but the 31-year-old tackled this year’s Burghley with five-star debutant Toronto D’Aurois.

And despite the 12-year-old French-bred gelding experiencing some stage fright, Duffort was delighted with how his partner overcame the formidable Captain Mark Phillips’ course.

“It was good, I’m proud of the horse,” he said. “He didn’t like the crowd, it’s probably not the best place to take him to, he was bit stronger early on than I was expecting.

“I was struggling a bit, it probably didn’t look pretty but he was trying his heart out to stay on the line, do the job and do what I asked him too.

“Then at the end maybe it was a bit too much on the inside and he tripped. It’s so scopey maybe I thought it would be no problem and then when he tripped he lost focus.

“He was just a bit tired towards the end of the course and maybe a bit too much on the inside.”

Duffort and Toronto D’Aurois went into the cross-country in 57th place after the dressage phase before their sterling effort on Saturday saw them climb up the standings.

The multi-award winning Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials has been established as a major international equestrian event for more than 50 years. For more information visit burghley-horse.co.uk