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EQUESTRIAN: Barbury’s mini Olympics
BARBURY Castle Estate owner Nigel Bunter hopes June’s International Trials can provide ample solace for eventing followers following the cancellation of Badminton this weekend.
The world-leading Badminton trials at the Duke of Beaufort’s estate were called off earlier this week after heavy rain left much of the site waterlogged.
It left a gaping hole in the sport’s calendar and is likely to throw even more spotlight on to the Barbury event (June 28-July 1), which was already the final run-out for many nations ahead of the London Olympics.
Bunter said: “We were asked by Yogi Briesner (Great Britain performance manager) if we would run a week earlier than normal to give everyone a chance to have a full run (before the Olympics).
“Hopefully we will see most of Team GB’s riders at Barbury and quite a few of the international would like to come for their final run – the likes of the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland.
“It will be a bit of a mini-Olympics. Obviously their priority will be Greenwich on July 28 but it’s a great opportunity, perhaps for people who won’t ge to the Games, to see some of the world’s top riders.’’ He added: “We’re so disappointed for everybody at Badminton because we know what an event like that takes to organise.
“Looking at the pictures there, they had no other choice. It’s very sad for eventing. It’s a bit more nerve-wracking for us now, but a great honour.
“We’ve always had great support from world-class riders and our course designer Mark Phillips and the Willis Bros, who also build Badminton’s fences.’’