NEWs

Britain’s best head to Bicton

The cream of Britain’s event riders will be heading to East Devon for the Bicton International Horse Trials (May 25-28), which is running a new CCI4*-S, sponsored by TopSpec (four-star level international short-format event).

The class of more than 70 horses includes the trio of British Olympic gold medallists from Tokyo: Laura Collett with her 2022 Badminton winner London 52 plus Dacapo, Outback ll and Bling, Tom McEwen (Luna Mist and MHS Brown Jack), and Oliver Townend.

Pippa Funnell, a legend in the sport and the winner of the elusive Rolex Grand Slam in 2003, has entered three horses: Billy Wonder, MCS Maverick and her 2019 Burghley winner MGH Grafton Street.

Kitty King has re-routed her beautiful grey horse, Vendredi Biats, after an early mishap at Badminton and may now be the one to beat. Kirsty Chabert also brings her Badminton ride, the mare Opposition Loire, plus Opposition Heraldik Girl.

The world number two, Jonelle Price from New Zealand, heads the overseas challenge, which includes Padraig McCarthy, Elizabeth Power and Susie Berry, and rising French stars Gaspard Maksud and Zazie Gardeau, the reigning European Young Rider champion.

The younger generation includes two daughters of former great names. Ellie Fredericks, whose parents Lucinda and Clayton were mainstays of the Australian team, competes Britannia’s Mail, a son of Lucinda’s Burghley, Badminton and Kentucky winner Headley Britannia. Tara Dixon, daughter of the much-medalled British team member Karen Dixon, rides Master Smart.

International two-star and three-star competitions, sponsored by Empire Coachbuilders and Symonds & Sampson respectively, are also taking place over the weekend and there is plenty of cross-country and show jumping action on both Saturday and Sunday.

Bicton is renowned for its beautiful parkland, spectacular views and well constructed cross-country courses, as well as its superb all weather Western Counties Arena which will host both dressage and showjumping phases. “We’re very much looking forward to welcoming so many top riders with their young horses,” said Arena Manager Andrew Fell. “It should be a cracking weekend of competition.”

Tickets can be purchased in advance for spectators on Saturday and Sunday at www.bicton-arena.co.uk with free entry on Thursday and Friday. Full entries list and live results can be found at www.eventingscores.co.uk. Live action is being streamed by Clip My Horse www.clipmyhorse.tv/en_GB/

Photo courtesy of Hannah Cole Photography

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