Eventing’s elite are ready to battle it out at Burghley

Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials 2014 winner Andrew Nicholson on Avebury.
Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials 2014 winner Andrew Nicholson on Avebury.
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A combination of proven talent and rising stars look set set to battle it out at this year’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (September 3-6).

One hundred horses from 10 nations spanning Australia, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden, USA and the UK will be competing for the substantial £250,000 prize pot.

Double Olympic gold medallist, Germany’s Michael Jung, will be visiting the trials for the first time with two of his top horses, La Biosthetique-Sam FBW and Fischerroncana FST, while the extraordinary triple winning combination of Andrew Nicholson (New Zealand) and Avebury will be looking to retain their title for an unprecedented fourth year in succession.

With the 2016 Rio Olympic Games now firmly on the horizon, team selectors will undoubtedly be keeping a close eye on this year’s results and a host of the world’s top riders will be out to impress.

Team GB stalwart and former Burghley winner William Fox-Pitt is entered with Bay My Hero and Fernhill Pims, alongside his team-mates for the forthcoming European Championships, Oliver Townend, Pippa Funnell and Nicola Wilson.

Having secured the top three placings at the 2014 event antipodean riders will be out in force again this year.

Kiwis Tim and Jonelle Price are currently showing great form, while the experience of former Burghley champions Mark Todd (NZL) and Andrew Hoy (NZL) will surely pay dividends.

2014 runners-up Jock Paget (NZL) and Sam Griffiths (AUS) will be looking to improve on their previous performances.

Burghley 2015 sees 20 first-time combinations. Young British riders include Rosalind Canter from Lincolnshire on All Star B and former GB young rider team member Tom Jackson from Kent on Waltham Fiddlers Find.

They’ll face strong competition from established combinations including Izzy Taylor with her diminutive KBIS Briarlands Matilda, former Rolex Grand Slam winner Pippa Funnell and team GB regular Nicola Wilson, each with three horses entered apiece.

Warwickshire-based Sarah Stretton and her horse Skip On will be looking to set a record for the greatest number of Burghley completions ever as they return to the event for the seventh time.

A strong European entry includes Ireland’s Austin O’Connor on Morning Venture, France’s Pascal Le Roy on Minos de Petra and Germany’s Niklas Bschorer on Tom Tom Go 3.

Land Rover Burghley Event Director Elizabeth Inman said: “The quality and depth of entries this year really is exceptional. The list of competitors is packed with former Olympic medallists, World and European champions.

“Competing alongside the established names will be a number of first timers, who will be looking to upset the established order and make their mark on the eventing world.

“In fact, this year the competitors will be facing a new challenge that could level the playing field and cause a few surprises. Our course designer Captain Mark Phillips has reversed the cross-country course and with riders running in the opposite direction, the benefit of having competed at Burghley previously will be minimised.”