BARBURY HORSE TRIALS: Cream of eventing descends on Wiltshire (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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BARBURY HORSE TRIALS: Cream of eventing descends on Wiltshire
SPECTATORS at this week’s Barbury International Horse Trials will enjoy a “unique’’ spectacle, according to estate owner Nigel Bunter.
More than 900 horses and riders make up a bumper entry at the St James's Place Wealth Management-sponsored event which get underway tomorrow morning.
With many nations earmarking Barbury as their final competitive practice before the Olympic Games next month, the trials have taken on extra significance.
Organisers are determined to live up to those expectations, adding extra dressage (tomorrow) and showjumping (Saturday) tests for Games-bound riders and horses to the programme.
In addition, the CIC three-star title – won last year by former Great Britain Olympic rider Pippa Funnell – will also be up for grabs, culminating in the spectacular cross-country discipline on Sunday afternoon.
Bunter said: “We are delighted that this year's event has received such a strong entry.
“We want to ensure it provides an excellent competition for Olympic-bound horses and riders and it is set to be a unique and fabulous spectacle for visitors.’’
As well as the five-strong Great Britain Olympic team of William Fox-Pitt, Kristina Cook, Mary King, Piggy French and Zara Phillips and their horses, some of the sport’s most famous names are also taking part.
New Zealand’s Mark Todd, a four-time Badminton winner and Olympic gold medallist will ride, while Marlborough-based compatriot Andrew Nicholson, Australia’s Clayton and Lucinda Fredericks, based at Little Cheverell, Olympics-bound Chris Burton (Australia), and Ogbourne-based Catherine Burrell (Australia) and Elizabeth Power (Ireland) are also there.
Other local hopefuls in the main three-star class include Hodson’s Tom McEwen, Tytherton Lucas-based Chris King, Dauntsey’s Beanie Sturgis, Fiona Hobby (Pewsey), Kitty King (Lower Stanton St Quinten), Mandy Collins (Holt) and Alexander Peternell (Hinton).
Tickets cost £15 on the gate on Saturday and Sunday, with U12s free. See barburyhorsetrials.co.uk.
WHAT'S ON AT BARBURY
Thursday & Friday (June 28-29)
THE trials kick off on Thursday with the three star and two star dressage, with the Burghley Young Event Horse competition a further highlight.
On day two (Friday), Olympic-bound riders, including the Great Britain team, will compete in unaffiliated dressage (8.30am-5pm), riding the test that will feature at this summer's Games.
The final dressage tests of the two and three star event, the Retraining of Racehorses dressage and Novice competition will also run.
Saturday (June 30)
THE two star showjumping begins proceedings, before horses and riders will negotiate the cross country course.
The three-star showjumping phase, as well as unaffiliated showjumping featuring Olympic hopefuls (2-4pm) is a further highlight.
Sunday (July 1)
ALL eyes will be on the prestigious three-star cross-country, with riders going in reverse order of placing.
Pippa Funnell, on Billy Landretti, landed the spoils at last year’s event in a nail-biting finish, with William Fox-Pitt, Little Cheverell’s Lucinda Fredericks and Nicola Wilson also among previous winners.
This year’s winner receives £5,000 in prize money, courtesy of sponsors St James's Place Wealth Management. The day will begin with Retraining of Racehorses Championship jump off.
Also on Saturday and Sunday is the first leg of the Hit Air Pro Bull Rider series with an Eventers v Jockeys rodeo on a mechanical bull.
Jump jockey Robert ‘Choc’ Thornton will captain the jockeys, alongside team members Timmy Murphy and Richard Johnson. Australian rider Paul Tapner will head the eventers and will be joined by Oliver Townend and Laura Collett.
Funds raised will be in aid of the ABF - The Soldiers Charity, Injured Jockeys Fund and Wiltshire Air Ambulance.
UPDATES FROM ALL FOUR DAYS OF THE TRIALS AT GAZETTEANDHERALD.CO.UK AND WILTSHIRETIMES.CO.UK AND DON'T MISS OUR REACTION & PICTURES SPECIAL IN NEXT WEEK'S GAZETTE & HERALD