Just days after the eventing competition at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, more than 100 horses from 11 countries are descending on the tiny British town of Stamford in Lincolnshire for this year’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.
Burghley gets under way on Thursday, and riders from Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, USA and the UK will be competing for the £62,000 first prize.
New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson is aiming for an unprecedented “three in a row” wins at the iconic venue on Avebury, but he won’t be the only former champion looking for a win. The entry list includes many past winners; William Fox-Pitt is entered with the experienced pair Bay My Hero and Parklane Hawk, alongside WEG team mate Oliver Townend, entered on Armada.
As well as Nicholson, there is a strong Antipodean presence, including popular Badminton winner Australia’s Sam Griffiths will be striving to secure his place on the podium in his quest to achieve the Rolex Grand Slam. He is joined by previous Burghley winner Andrew Hoy, who will ride Rutherglen, Jonathan Paget has his WEG horse Clifton Promise ready to go, and Kiwi team-mates Tim and Jonelle Price are also starters.
The event also features 27 first time combinations. Young British riders include Lincolnshire-based Gina Ruck a former British Pony team member, who’ll be competing on home-produced 12yr old Rehy Too and Kirsty Short from Hertfordshire who brings her U25s partner Cossan Lad. They’ll face strong competition from established combinations including Izzy Taylor and the diminutive Briarlands Matilda, Piggy French and Jakarta who hasn’t competed at 4* level since 2011 and Francis Whittington who this year brings Hasty Imp.
A strong European entry includes five-time Olympian Belgium’s Karin Donkers with Lamicell Unique, France’s Karim Laghouag and his 2012 Olympic reserve horse, Punch de L’Esques and Germany’s Kai Ruder and his Blenheim 2013 partner Gryffindor.
Land Rover Burghley Event Director, Elizabeth Inman said the standard of entries was as high as ever this year.
“We look forward to welcoming some if not all of the World Equestrian Games medallists to Lincolnshire this Autumn. As always Mark Philips’ cross country course will provide riders and horses with a true 4* challenge and with Andrew Nicholson and Avebury aiming for an as yet unachieved treble and Sam Griffiths focusing on the elusive Rolex Grand Slam there is all to play for. ”