Sarah Carless..
In front of a packed crowd of spectators, 72 combinations come before the Ground Jury for the first horse inspection for this year’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.
The Ground Jury of Angela Tucker (President), Sandor Fulop and Ernst Topp were there to ensure that all horses were fit and ready to compete, with 10 nations represented in this year’s competition.
Defending champion Oliver Townend presented three horses; MHS King Joules, Cooley SRS and his winning mount from 2017 Ballaghmor Class. And all were accepted giving him a good shot of taking his third win at Burghley. 
One of Irish rider Joseph Murphy’s mounts – Fernhill Frankie II – was sent to the holding box and was withdrawn before being represented to the ground jury. Clelia Casiraghi’s ride Verdi was also sent to the hold box and they too withdrew before being represented. This means 70 combinations go forward to the dressage. 
As well as last year’s champion, the field contains five other previous winners:Five time winner Andrew Nicholson will seek to take his sixth Burghley win with Jet Set IV and Swallow Springs; fellow New Zealander Caroline Powell will compete with On The Brash (No 17) their compatriot Mark Todd has two rides in NZB Campino (No 7) and Kiltubrid Rhapsody (No 92). Britain’s Pippa Funnell rides Majas Hope (No 66). 
Further competition comes in the form of Tim Price (Bango and Ringwood Sky Boy), last year’s runners up Piggy French and Vanir Kamira, Team GB rider Tina Cook (Star Witness) and Germany’s Andreas Dibowski (Butss Avedon). 
With the first horse inspection also becoming somewhat of a fashion catwalk, sponsored by HiHo Silver, the Best Dressed Rider prizes were awarded to Caroline Powell and Alexander Bragg. 
Images courtesy of Tanzy Lee

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