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Friday, April 18, 2008  •  10:16 GMT


May Day might not have obvious associations with September but it is the day that the box office opens for this year’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (4 – 7 September), undoubtedly the climax of the autumn eventing calendar.

Those in the know will be first in the queue to book their tickets to this year’s event – last year grandstand seats for the final day’s show jumping were sold out before the end of July. And there are great savings to be had on many advance entry tickets. Anyone thinking of getting a group together for the trip to Stamford might be encouraged to make arrangements ASAP as there is an enticing reduction on advance tickets for spectators arriving by coach or minibus. The limited numbers of passes for a pitch in Burghley’s beautiful members’ caravan park are always much in demand while tickets for reserved ‘picnic parking’ on Sunday have proved a popular innovation.

As well as a ‘must see’ sporting occasion for spectators, Burghley also represents one of the ultimate challenges for horse and rider. While the accolade of winning The Land Rover Perpetual Challenge Trophy is huge the prize fund is also a big one. This year a record total of £223,000, boosted by a special rider prize fund is available to be awarded to those in the final line up. A first prize of £50,000 is on offer to the owner of the winning horse with an extra £5,000 to the winning rider.

In addition the Mountain Horse International Pairs Challenge which matches up a top ten British rider with a top ten rider from the ‘rest of the world’ will add a further £4,000 to the prize pot with a first prize of £2,500 to be shared by the winning duo. Mountain Horse also sponsor the much coveted Mountain Horse ‘Care Prize’ awarded on the final day to the groom of the best cared for horse.

The excitement of watching the world’s best horses and riders in action in one of the most beautiful settings in the country is just one reason to visit Burghley. Other good reasons include; the added attraction of several hundred high quality tradestands providing a shopping nirvana; a chance to sit and watch the event horses of the future in the national final of the Burghley Loddon Young Event competition; displays of horsemanship and dressage from some of the country’s elite riders and at the other end of the scale top class show jumping competition for members of the Pony Club. However the charm of the Capability Brown parkland and the splendour of Burghley House are in themselves ample reason to book tickets to visit The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials this September.

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