Royal faces to appear at horse trials

Burghley comp
Burghley comp
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This year’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials 2017 will have a Royal flavour with Zara Phillips competing and her aunt, The Countess of Wessex, presenting the prize to the winner.

The hugely popular Zara Phillips, a former runner up at Land Rover Burghley, will return to the event which runs at Burghley House, from Thursday, August 31, until Sunday, September 3.

Zara will be competing on High Kingdom, who she has previously ridden at the event and who she won silver on during the World Equestrian Games.

Last year, Zara didn’t compete after sustaining an injury but she did make an appearance judging the picnic competition.

But she’ll face stiff competition from many former winners: 2010 champion Caroline Powell is entered with two rides Onwards and Upwards and Spice Sensation, alongside 2009 winner and team GB member Oliver Townend, who has also entered two horses: Ballaghmor Class and Cooley SRS. Three-time Olympic gold medallist, Germany’s Michael Jung, who won at Burghley in 2015 and is currently ranked world number one.

There will be a strong Antipodean presence, led by last year’s winner Christopher Burton riding Nobilis 18 and veteran rider Sir Mark Todd on Leonidas II. Australia’s Andrew Hoy is another former Burghley champion, who this year brings The Blue Frontier. While popular 2017 Badminton winner another British-based New Zealander, Andrew Nicholson will be striving to secure a podium place

They’ll all be looking to leave with the prestigious Land Rover Perpetual Challenge Trophy and the £90,000 first prize money.

It will be presented on the last day of the event by The Countess of Wessex, who will be at the event in her role as patron of the Association of Show and Agricultural Organisations.

The last time a member of the Royal Family was at the event in an official capacity was Princess Anne in 2011.

Land Rover Burghley event director Elizabeth Inman said: “The standard of entries is as high as ever this year and we look forward to welcoming some if not all of the European Eventing Championship medallists to Lincolnshire this autumn.”

n Win tickets to the event on page 28.