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Wednesday, August 31, 2011  •  18:18 BST

50TH ANNIVERSARY EVENT UNDERWAY

The 2011 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, the 50th Anniversary of the event, started at 4.00pm with the first horse inspection in the main arena.

Eighty three (81) combinations came in front of the ground jury of; Angela Tucker (GBR) President, Michel Asseray (FRA) and Christina Klingspor (SWE). Albeit four horses were held over for re-inspection all passed and are now in contention for the Land Rover perpetual challenge trophy and the £50,000 first prize. American rider Juliam Stiler won the first award of the event winning the prize for the ‘best turned out’ rider which was judged by Sarah Jewson, wife of the Burghley committee chairman Richard Jewson.

Nine former winners are among the entries for this year’s 50th anniversary competition including last year’s winners Caroline Powell (NZL) and Lenamore, however as yet no-horse has managed to win Burghley in consecutive years and only one horse – Priceless and Ginnie Elliott (nee Holgate) has ever won twice in 1983 and ’85. Lenamore is one of two eighteen year old horses here this year. The other is Comanche the ride of James Robinson (GBR). The pair is making what must be a record ninth appearance on the Burghley start list.

William Fox-Pitt and Mark Todd (NZL) have both won Burghley on five previous occasions and a win this year for either rider would therefore give them a record sixth victory. Lucinda Fredericks (AUS) is only the second rider beside Captain Mark Phillips, now the Burghley course designer, to have won the event with a mare. This year Lucinda returns with the German-bred Prada, also a mare and one of 11 mares that passed the inspection this evening.

Mary King, well recovered from her fall at Luhmuhlen last week also rides a mare, her homebred Kings Temptress, by Primitive Rising and one of three on the start list by this Thoroughbred sire. Mary also has the experienced Burghley horse Apache Sauce to help in her bid for her second Burghley title. Mary is also one of nine riders with two horses. As well as Mary other former winners with two rides are; William Fox-Pitt, Oliver Townend, Andrew Nicholson (NZL), Pippa Funnell, and Caroline Powell while Burghley ‘first-timer Johnathan Paget (NZL) also has two rides as does British rider Francis Whittington.

Former local girl and Fitzwilliam Pony Club member Sarah Cohen (nee Cutteridge) and the Preci-Spark homebred gelding Treason will be the first in the dressage arena tomorrow morning as the ‘Guinea Pig combination for the Ground Jury.

The first competitive rider will be Sam Griffiths (AUS) and Happy Times (no. 2) who will come before the ground jury at 09.30am.