BARBURY HORSE TRIALS: Barbury’s trials gathering pace

Barbury Estate owner and Trials organiser Nigel Bunter (left)

Barbury Estate owner and Trials organiser Nigel Bunter (left)

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BARBURY Estate owner Nigel Bunter is hoping that the tenth Barbury Horse Trials will be the biggest ever as an expected 1,000 horses give it their all at the county’s premier trials, which were getting under way today.

The trials, which run until Sunday, will see the largest-ever field of top-class competitors, with a host of the world’s top eventers being put through their paces ahead of this summer’s World Equestrian Games.

“Of course, we’re very excited and it’s our tenth year, so hopefully it will be special,” said Bunter.

“We’ve got 1,000 horses due to compete across the week and that’s a huge amount. It’s about 100 more than last year and we haven’t got any plans to limit entries but we’d have to think about having an extra day if we wanted it to get even bigger.

“We’ve got a very good list of entries again and a lot of that is down to being based in Wiltshire, with a lot of top riders in the county or nearby in Berkshire or Oxfordshire. The World Equestrian Games are in August too so a lot of people will be bringing their best rides.

“I saw Andrew Nicholson, who has won twice in a row and is very keen to do it a third time, earlier this week. It would be on the same horse, which is called Avebury and would be another nice link to Wiltshire.

“Away from the eventing, we’ve working with the Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF) this year as it’s their 50th anniversary and they do such great work. Unfortunately, a few of our local riders end up at their facilities more than they’d like.

“They’ll be bringing an ‘Equicizer’ for children to have a go at seeing what it’s like to be a jockey.

“And then on Saturday, we’ll have jockeys such as AP McCoy, John Francome, Richard Johnson and Sam Twiston-Davies taking on the eventers – Zara Phillips, William Fox-Pitt, Mark Todd and Laura Collett – in the JCB Champions Challenge.

“We’re finalising a showjumping team to take part too but that event should be a great part of the trials.”

  • A NUMBER of riders bound for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy in August will also feature at this weekend’s trials.

They include Great Britain's Tina Cook (six Barbury entries), current World No 1 William Fox-Pitt (seven), Pippa Funnell (four), Zara Phillips (three), Izzy Taylor (nine) and Oliver Townend (five).

New Zealander Todd, who is based at Badgerstown, near Marlborough, has three entries,  and 2014 Badminton winner Sam Griffiths, from Australia, has seven entries.

A total of £33,000 in prize money is up for grabs across the British eventing classes.

Trials tickets start £15 on the gate. Children under 12 years go free. Visit barburyhorsetrials.co.uk or call 01672 516125.

UPDATES FROM THE BARBURY HORSE TRIALS HERE ON GAZETTEANDHERALD.CO.UK/SPORT. FOR MORE SPORTS NEWS, REPORTS & PICTURES SEE THURSDAY'S GAZETTE & HERALD AND FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @gazsport

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