Olympic hopefuls thrill crowds

Aidan Keogh in action. Photograph by Neil B Jones.
Aidan Keogh in action. Photograph by Neil B Jones.

THOUSANDS of spectators watched some of the biggest names in eventing compete at a sun-drenched Burgham Horse Trials on Saturday and Sunday.

More than 300 entrants, including Team GB Olympic hopefuls, were watched by crowds topping 4,000.

Competitors came from as far afield as the Scottish Highlands, Kent and Ireland to take part in the inaugural Advanced event.

The cross-country course, designed by Ronald Alexander, was built to international standard by a team led by former top eventer Peter Wilson, with classes for Advanced, Intermediate, Open Intermediate, Novice, BE100 Open and BE100 contests.

Features on the three-mile course included two water jumps, two water crossings, a fruit and vegetable cart and a 9ft duck.

The Advanced field included top UK riders Nicola Wilson from North Yorkshire and Matthew Wright from Nottinghamshire, but it was Borders-based New Zealand eventer Caroline Powell who took the top prize on Onwards and Upwards.

Cumbrian rider Ruth Edge, from Heads Nook near Carlisle, won both the Open Intermediate section on Rogersdale and the Novice category on Basco.

Organiser David Nicholson said: “We were delighted with both the number and standard of entries to our first Advanced event and overwhelmed by the sheer number of spectators, which even at one stage led to us having to implement crowd control measures – a great problem to have.

“It was a fabulous weekend of sporting entertainment, with lovely weather in beautiful surroundings, and the early feedback from both competitors and spectators has been extremely positive.”

For full results from the event, visit www.bdwp.co.uk/bg1

Another Burgham event takes place from July 13 to July 15.

Like last year, it will include BE90, BE100 and Novice classes in eventing and the £12,000 Burgham Classic Grand Prix, which should attract top names in showjumping.

This summer’s spectacle will be expanded to ensure it offers sporting action and entertainment for all the family, with a host of new attractions to be announced soon.

Visit www.burghamhorsetrials.co.uk for more information.

Trade stand applications for the event are also open and are available by emailing david@burghamhorsetrials.co.uk or by visiting the website.