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Tuesday, August 23, 2011  •  17:00 GMT


To mark the occasion of The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials 50th Anniversary, course designer Captain Mark Phillips has planned a completely new-look cross-country course. A trip down memory lane provides the inspiration for this year’s course, influenced by some famous fences from the past. Former signature fences such as Lambert’s Sofa and Cottesmore Leap have been reinstated while new ones have been designed, including The Marquess of Exeter’s Hurdles, a tribute to the 6th Marquess of Exeter, who introduced the event to Burghley. A brand new water complex has also been created.

“I have gone retro,” said Captain Phillips. “The course, which will also be longer in distance, is not as technical as modern courses and the fences have been made of smaller timber which makes it look impressive. In terms of the modern sport it will be very different – it will be a big old-fashioned Burghley for a bold galloping horse.”

A record number of entries have been received for this year’s event attracting nine former winners including; Mary King, William Fox-Pitt, Pippa Funnell and Oliver Townend and from overseas, New Zealanders Mark Todd, Andrew Nicholson, Blyth Tait and last year’s winner Caroline Powell. Together with British born Australian Lucinda Fredericks they head a field of over 80 competitors vying for this year’s Land Rover Perpetual Challenge Trophy and the £50,000 first prize.

British team riders Mary King and William Fox-Pitt spearhead the British threat. Mary who currently leads the HSBC FEI Classics™ series brings her Kentucky four-star winner Kings Temptress as well as Apache Sauce. William has a strong choice of six entries – albeit only two will be able to start – if he chooses to run Cool Mountain, a team gold and individual silver winner at last year’s World Equestrian Games (WEG), this could be the one to give William a record sixth Burghley victory.

There is a large overseas contingent as many riders have come over to prepare their horses ahead of next year’s London 2012 Olympic Games. Wiltshire based New Zealand team veteran Andrew Nicholson will be one of the international favourites and Nereo with whom he won team and individual bronze at last year’s World Equestrian Games could give Andrew a third Burghley title. They will face strong opposition from fellow countrymen and team mates Jonathan Paget (Clifton Promise & Clifton Lush) and Clarke Johnstone (Incognito III & Kolora Stud Secrets) both competing here for the first time. Kiwi eventing legend and double Olympic gold medallist Mark Todd (Major Milestone) could also climb up the leader board after cross-country. Last year’s winner Caroline Powell returns with her winning ride the evergreen 19-year-old Lenamore, while Blyth Tait, the winner here in 1998 & 2001 is making a comeback to four-star competition.

American Sinead Halpin (Manoir de Carneville) and Boyd Martin (Neville Bardos), first timers at the event could spring a surprise – it is 18 years since an American rider last won here. Others to watch are newcomers to the event Christopher Burton (HP Leilani & Newsprint) and Hamish Cargill (Sandhills Tiger) from Australia.

Former French World Champion Jean Teulere (Matelot du Grand Val) at 56 one of the older riders, will be worth keeping an eye on while at the other end of the age scale is Burghley debutant former Pony, Junior and Young Rider team member and gold medallist, Wiltshire based Tom McEwen. At 20-years-old Tom will be the youngest competitor this year.

“The number of entries from those hoping to compete this year was overwhelming – and the largest we have ever received,” said Burghley Director Elizabeth Inman. “The result is a high-class field of competitors with many new names from New Zealand, America and Australia on the list. This combined with the new-look anniversary course will make for an exceptionally exciting competition.”

Away from the competition over 600 trade stands, six specialist pavilions and the Burghley food walk offer an unrivalled opportunity for shopping in one of the most magnificent locations in the country.

“This year will be a unique occasion and with a record entry and a completely new look cross-country challenge the 50th Anniversary Burghley has all the promise of an exciting and memorable event,” said Burghley Director Elizabeth Inman.


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The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials 2010 had a great winner, fantastic weather and record crowds. Re-live the highlights here in our special round up.

Burghley Press Officer:
Bridget Jennings+44 (0)1458 250 200