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 of the event.
Huddersfield-born rider Townend went into the showjumping finale in third place aboard Armada but was unable to capitalise as he picked up 16 faults which left down in eighth place overall.
He was 12th after the opening dressage phase but managed to work his way up the leaderboard after tackling Mark Phillips’ challenging cross-country course.
However, it was the showjumping that proved too stiff far for Armada and Townend couldn’t take the top prize away from Andrew Nicholson, the winner for a record third time.
“I’ve enjoyed the week but would have liked to do a bit better but I’ll try to rectify that next year,” said Townend, who finished second with Armada at the Badminton Horse Trials back in May.
“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.”
The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, which along with Badminton and Kentucky forms the Grand Slam of Eventing, is widely regarded as the most prestigious four-star event in the world and Townend has no doubt Armada can improve in 12 months time.
“He’s been here enough times so things like that shouldn’t affect him,” he added.
“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.”