The two highest ranked event riders in the world, Oliver Townend (world number one) and Gemma Tattersall (world number two) lead an exceptionally strong field for the St James’s Place Barbury Horse Trials (5-8 July).
Riders from 21 nations and around 1,000 horses in total will compete throughout the four days of top-class horse sport, which ranges from the elite CIC3* Event Rider Masters (ERM) class, worth £50,000, to the choicest future stars in the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horses section.
An incredible nine former ERM-winning riders are entered in the Barbury ERM class: last year’s Barbury ERM heroes Tom Carlile and Upsilon, Oliver Townend (Cilnabradden Evo), Gemma Tattersall (Pamero 4), Izzy Taylor (Director General), Andrew Nicholson (Swallow Springs), Astier Nicolas (Alertamli Or), Sarah Cohen (Treason), Alex Hua Tian (Don Geniro) – and the superbly impressive champions of the most recent ERM leg at Arville in Belgium, Christopher Burton and Polystar I. It bids to be possibly the most competitive ERM class yet run. Among those fighting for a first ERM victory are legends of the sport Sir Mark Todd and William Fox-Pitt, and eventing’s most celebrated pair Tim Price and his Badminton-winning wife Jonelle.
The second CIC3* class is also brimming with quality and includes Christopher Burton and the Blenheim CIC3* for eight- and nine-year-old horses winner Cooley Lands, William Fox-Pitt and Fernhill Pimms, Laura Collett (Dacapo), Francis Whittington (Evento) and Blyth Tait (Leo Distinction). The jumping phases for both CIC3*s take place on Sunday, 8 July.
The three CIC2* sections, who perform their showjumping and cross-country on Saturday, 7 July, are probably the most competitive of the year. All the UK-based top riders have exciting younger horses entered, including Piggy French, Oliver Townend, Sam Griffiths, William Fox-Pitt and Sir Mark Todd.
And Friday, 6 July will be a busy day, with no less than eight novice classes taking place.
Martyn Johnson, Event Director of St James’s Place Barbury, said: “I’m delighted with the entries, which include CCI4* winners, CCI3* winners and lots of contenders for the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in September – several leading nations are using Barbury as a WEG trial, which is a great compliment to the event. Anyone who wants to watch real superstars, both equine and human, in action, should come to Barbury. We have the best viewing of any event in the country, so feast your eyes on the best of the best!”
Supporting the superb eventing on show are arena attractions such as the highly popular and entertaining JCB Champions’ Challenge, which follows the inter-hunt relay final on Saturday, 7 July. Top eventers battle it out against the country’s best National Hunt jockeys – including current champion jockey Richard Johnson – in a relay race over fences.
And on Sunday, 8 July we welcome the world-famous Shetland Grand National to Barbury for the first time, as well as a brilliant display of dog agility from recent world silver medallist Anthony Clark and his top dog Protest, and celebrity dog agility with top riders!
There is also a great new “kids zone” full of children’s entertainment, excellent shopping, a fully licensed bar and a wide range of delicious food options available.
To buy tickets and for more information, visit www.barburyhorsetrials.co.uk.
Photo credit Benjamin Clark Photography.