Trials hailed a classic

Burgham Classic 2011 winner Louise Whitaker.
Burgham Classic 2011 winner Louise Whitaker.

A MAJOR three-day equestrian event has been hailed as an ‘amazing success’ by organisers, after it attracted top-name riders and thousands of spectators.

Nearly 1,100 competitors and an estimated 9,000 people flocked to the Burgham Horse Trials, which ran last Friday to Sunday.

Director Sunil Mehra, who led the team with business partner Semore Kurdi, said: “Burgham has been an amazing success and made its mark on the equestrian calendar. This unique event raises the bar for quality and is unmatched anywhere in the country at this level.

“We are delighted with the feedback we have received, some of which can be read on our Facebook page.

“We are really looking forward to our BE Advanced event in March which will again attract some of the top equestrians in the sport anywhere in the world.”

Competitors took part in Elite show jumping, British Eventing to Novice level, and a host of other classes, including the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse and Burghley Event Pony qualifiers, The Pony Club, Para Dressage and Sporthorse GB and British Show Pony Society Showing.

The showcase competition, the £12,000 Burgham Classic, was won by Louise Whitaker, who beat her father John to claim the top prize. Jemma Kirk, in third, was the only other rider to post a clear round from 23 starters, who also included five other members of the Whitaker family, Tim Stockdale, Paul Barker, Pippa Allen and Scott Brash.

The three Eventing classes – BE90, BE100 and Novice – also attracted well-known names, with New Zealand Olympian Caroline Powell and Ben Hobday among nearly 400 riders from as far afield as the Channel Islands and Inverness-shire to try out Douglas Weymouth’s new 2.6km cross-country course.

Paul White, event director, said: “The range of competition on offer, the Elite show jumping and the new cross-country course have been incredibly well received. We have certainly put Northumberland on the map as one of the top equestrian destinations in the country.”

The organising team will soon get plans get under way for the new pre-Badminton Advanced qualifying event awarded by British Eventing for next March.

This is expected to attract international Olympians in the run up to the London Olympics and other top Eventers bidding to compete at Badminton.

Results from the weekend can be found on the Burgham website, www.burghamhorsetrials.co.uk/forum/content.php