Wednesday, August 22, 2007 13:08 GMT
ZARA BACK AT BURGHLEY
The world’s leading riders will battle it out to scoop the top honours at Eventing’s Autumn classic: The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (30 August – 2 September), held at Stamford, Lincolnshire.
Last year’s winner, Lucinda Fredericks is resting her top horse, Headley Britannia, so the competition is wide open for this year’s entries, headed by World and European Champion, Zara Phillips riding Ardfield Magic Star. Will Zara go one better than she did in 2003 when she finished 2nd on Toytown and claim the £50,000 first prize and the Land Rover Perpetual Challenge Trophy?
The 99-strong field boasts entries from 11 countries, with 19 riders tackling the event for the first time. There are nine riders under 25 years old, and at the other end of the experience scale are past winners: William Fox-Pitt (GBR) on Ballincoola (Burghley winning partnership in 2005), Andrew Hoy (AUS) on Master Monarch (2nd in 2006; Andrew won in 2004 & 1979) and Andrew Nicholson (NZL) (winner in 2000 and 1995).
With Lucinda Fredericks (Badminton 2007 winner) out of contention, the Rolex Grand Slam will start afresh. The winner of Burghley will need to go on to win at Kentucky and Badminton next year to clinch Eventing’s most lucrative prize of $250,000 for winning these three CCI**** competitions consecutively. The feat has only ever been achieved once, by Pippa Funnell in 2003.
This year Captain Mark Phillips' cross country course is running in an anti-clockwise direction with plenty of opportunity for spectators to get great views of all the action. Mark describes his course as, “Without doubt, the most difficult course seen in the world this year,” adding that: “The winner that takes home the Land Rover Trophy and Burghley’s biggest ever prize will be a true and worthy champion.”
Event Director Elizabeth Inman said, “I am sure that we are on course for yet another outstanding Burghley. The calibre of entrants combined with Mark Phillips’ challenging course and a very healthy prize fund should make for an excellent competition.” For those that can’t make it to the Event, Burghley.tv, the pay-per-view broadband streaming service returns, and will enable keen followers across the world to watch the Event live on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 September. Also included is video 'on demand' coverage of the Cross Country and Show Jumping until Monday 10 September 2007.