Major coup for Burgham

Mark Todd is pictured competing at this year's Badminton Horse Trials. Photo taken by Kit Houghton Photography.
Mark Todd is pictured competing at this year's Badminton Horse Trials. Photo taken by Kit Houghton Photography.

NORTHUMBERLAND could play host to world-class riders next year, after organisers of the Burgham Horse Trials secured a major equestrian event.

British Eventing has awarded Burgham Park permission to host the only Advanced class in the North of England prior to the prestigious Badminton Horse Trials next year.

It will offer riders the opportunity to gain a valuable qualification and points which may be required for Badminton entry in 2012 – the year that Olympic Eventing comes to the UK.

The two-day event, which will be held at Burgham Park near Morpeth on March 24 and 25 2012, with both Intermediate and Advanced British Eventing classes, is also likely to attract riders from the UK and overseas taking part in the London Olympics.

An Advanced class is the highest national class that can be awarded and as Burgham has yet to run its inaugural competition – a Novice event next month – securing the new Advanced Event at the Northumberland venue is a significant achievement.

The directors of the Burgham Horse Trials, Semore Kurdi and Sunil Mehra, welcomed the decision.

Mr Mehra said: “We are delighted to have secured not only an Advanced Event for the region but also one of the last events before the Badminton Horse Trials, which is sure to draw some of the top names in the sport to the North East in an Olympic year.

“We believe this decision demonstrates great faith in our team and recognition of its ability and commitment to make the Burgham Horse Trials the biggest equestrian event in the region.”

Next March’s event will be one of only a few Advanced fixtures in 2012 prior to the world-renowned Badminton Horse Trials, and will provide an invaluable opportunity for top-class riders to prepare themselves.

The news comes as a huge boost to the Burgham team, just weeks before the inaugural British Eventing fixture takes place at Burgham Park from Friday, July 22 to Sunday, July 24.

It will feature top-class showjumping including the £12,000 prize fund Burgham Classic Grand Prix, alongside British Eventing, Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse, Burghley Event Pony, Pony Club classes, Sporthorse GB and British Show Pony Society Showing and Para Dressage.

Other attractions include a retail village, bar-restaurant, dedicated children’s play area, and on-site facilities for competitors and spectators enabling them to stay the weekend including a caravan/camping site and stabling. High-class hospitality will also be available in the exclusive Members’ Premier Enclosure.

Frances Hay-Smith, British Eventing’s Regional Co-ordinator for Scotland and the North, said: “I am delighted we have secured this prestigious event in Northumberland to give our members based in the North and Scotland the chance to get their qualifications and pre-Badminton runs without the huge travel costs they have had to pay in the past years.

“It is a fabulous testament to Paul White (Event Director at Burgham Horse Trials) and his team, and also to the support of Semore Kurdi and Sunil Mehra that an event as new as Burgham has been awarded classes of this level, and very exciting for the enthusiasts in Northumberland to have competitors and horses of this level competing on the doorstep, especially in Olympic year.”

The new event next March will be in addition to the July 2012 Burgham Horse Trials, which will include the same wide-range of competitions and attractions as next month’s event.

Reduced price advance spectator tickets, accommodation booking and competitor schedules and entry forms are all available on the event website at www.burghamhorsetrials.co.uk