Course designer Captain Mark Phillips says riders will need to pay attention to get through the Burghley cross-country this time out, with a new routes to tackle on the famous track.
In the above video, Phillips previews his course for the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, which start on September 3.
British sporting hopes are pinned on a winning finale to the summer season at Burghley, following the country’s success at Wimbledon, the Ashes, and the Tour de France.
Burghley has long been a major highlight of the British equestrian season. Set in the stunning grounds of Burghley House, one of Britain’s most historic houses, the Lincolnshire event marks the end of summer, and top riders from around the globe focus on it as their end-of-year aim.
This year, with 2014’s World Equestrian Games on the horizon, the entries are strong with 11 countries represented.
Land Rover Burghley will bring together five former winners – including the victorious horse-and-rider partnerships from the past two runnings, New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson and Avebury and British superstar William Fox-Pitt and Parklane Hawk.
They will face serious opposition from the 29-year-old Kiwi sensation, Badminton winner Jonathan Paget, joined by an army of top British event riders such as Pippa Funnell, Tina Cook and Oliver Townend.
As well as the majority of the world’s top event horses, Burghley will showcase the equine stars of the future in Friday’s prestigious Young Event Horse Final.
And after a very successful debut in 2012, the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse class, a qualifier for the Horse of the Year Show, takes place on Sunday following a parade of five-times King George VI Chase winner Kauto Star and 2012 Grand National hero Neptune Collonges.
Burghley is also part of eventing’s HSBC FEI Classics, which links the six world-wide, 4* three-day events, based on a points system for riders. At the end of the series the rider with the most points is crowned HSBC Classics Champion and prize money is awarded to the top five riders from an annual US$1,000,000 prize fund.
The 2013 series that started at Les Étoiles de Pau, France (Oct 2012) and includes: Adelaide, Australia (Nov 2012); Rolex Kentucky, Lexington (April 2013); The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (May 2013); Luhmühlen, Germany (June 2013) and will reach its climax with the final result at The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.
After the five previous events last year’s Burghley winner Andrew Nicholson, continued his winning form taking the first, third and fourth legs of the series at Pau, Lexington and Luhmuhlen. He is therefore in an unassailable position with a 19 points lead and even with 15 points to the winning rider he cannot be beaten and will be the first non-British rider to win the series and the $US150,000 prize.
Three-time HSBC Classics winner William Fox-Pitt is in second place with a nine point lead over Badminton winner Jock Paget, who is ahead of German rider Michael Jung. Burghley will be a key event for riders in determining their final standings.
The event is also part of the Rolex Grand Slam, the only winner of which has been British rider Pippa Funnell, who claimed the $US250,000 reward in 2002. Now standing at $US350,000, this prize is awarded to the rider who wins the three consecutive 4*events of Kentucky, Badminton and Burghley, in any order. In 2006 Australian Andrew Hoy came close, also at Burghley but one show jump down robbed him of the prize.
Paget is bringing two horses to Burghley, including his Badminton winner Clifton Promise. Should he win Burghley, he will be a hot contender for staking his claim to the Rolex Grand Slam at Lexington next year.