A host of top international riders return to The Festival of British Eventing, presented by the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA), held at Gatcombe Park 5-7 August 2016.
Returning to the hallowed grounds of Gatcombe Park for The Festival this year will be Australian Andrew Hoy (the 1997 British Open Champion) and New Zealand’s and Blyth Tait (1998 British Open Champion) both of which will be looking to have their names on the Roll of Honour again. But the task will not be easy; challenges for this prestigious title will come from a number of leading British riders, 2014 Open Champion Francis Whittington, reigning Novice and Intermediate Champion Oliver Townend, Nicola Wilson, the highest placed British rider of 2015, and former World Champion Zara Tindall who has entered High Kingdom and Watkins.
Amongst those vying for The Smith & Williamson British Intermediate Championship title are Izzy Taylor and young rider Emily King. Izzy has had a fantastic year and was selected as part of the Team GB squad for Rio, however unfortunately has had to withdraw. Izzy has bounced back from disappointment and set her sights on a strong result at The Festival with experienced and proven mount Impromptu II. This combination won at Aston Park earlier this year and has had good placing’s at all their events. Emily King, rising star and daughter of renowned rider Mary, will also have high expectations this August with Dargun after a good run together at Barbury CIC** earlier this year.
A strong contender for The Dodson & Horrell British Novice Championship must be Emily Baldwin, entered with her horse Uppercourt Cooley. The pair will be looking to continue their 2015 international success after finishing 4th at Tattersalls 6/7yr olds CCI*. It will not be an easy ride for Emily though, with competition coming from past Junior European Eventing rider Georgie Spence.
The TopSpec Challenge for The Corinthian Cup, a National Restricted Novice Championship, sees a range of riders’ battle for victory, including an Oxford vs. Cambridge line-up. Up and coming rider, Daniel Griffiths, from Oxfordshire, has had a strong season with his horse Cooley River and should be on top form for The Festival. Meanwhile, hailing from the historic rival county Cambridgeshire, Amy Benton with Dancing Devil II will be competing at The Festival for the first time, and will no doubt be a strong contender.
Back by popular demand at The Festival this year will be the Advanced Class, which sees Team GB rider and Festival committee member Harry Meade with Away Cruising and Orlando entered to fight for this coveted title. One of those challenging Harry will be Olivia Wilmot riding Zebedee De Foja; Olivia is a consistent rider and is not to be overlooked in this competition.