‘KING of Barbury’ Andrew Nicholson has targeted a sixth triumph at the International Horse Trials in July after the event’s future was secured.

The St James’s Place-backed Barbury trials will run from July 6-9 this summer after the Barbury Castle Estate’s new owner, businessman Chris Woodhouse, sanctioned their go-ahead.

The future of the trials had been under scrutiny following the sale of the estate by previous owner Nigel Bunter, who had been at the forefront of the event’s organisation since launching the trials as a one-day event in 2005.

However, Woodhouse has detailed the Event Rider Masters (ERM), the six-event series which held one leg of its inaugural campaign at Barbury last year, to manage and run the 2017 renewal, with ERM’s Martyn Johnson becoming the event’s director.

The ERM series will embark on its second year in 2017, with Barbury again confirmed as the third leg. CIC three and two-star competitions, and British Eventing novice classes, will also take place at this July’s trials.

Nicholson, who made history last year when winning the third leg of the ERM, riding Nereo – his fifth trials success, having already won the three-star competition four consecutive times on board Avebur – said: “Barbury is an important event, not only for our horses and as competitors, but also for equestrian fans and the surrounding Wiltshire area.

“You only have to look at the huge entry the event receives to see how popular it is with riders.

“I love competing at Barbury and I’m delighted to hear its immediate future is secure.”

Event Rider Masters CEO Chris Stone added: “We are proud and excited to be running Barbury this year and we are very grateful to Chris Woodhouse for asking us to organise the horse trials. It was important to continue the event despite the change of estate ownership.

“It has an amazing history in producing human and equine heroes and heroines, and is a significant fixture in the eventing calendar, as well as a sporting highlight in Wiltshire and surrounding areas.’’

Meanwhile, the ERM, in which Wiltshire-based riders Jonelle Price and Paul Tapner finished on the overall podium alongside winner Oliver Townsend last year, will consist of seven legs, including at two of Europe’s most prestigious equestrian competitions Wiesbaden in Germany in June and Jardy in France in July.

Tickets for Barbury went on sale today and can be purchase online in advance until June 30. See barburyhorsetrials.co.uk.