THERE is a bumper entry for this year’s Bramham International Horse Trials, which begin on Thursday.
Former Olympic, World and European champions, two reigning European champions and three current world team gold medallists plus some of the best riders from around the world are among those who will be competing.
One famous name who had planned to ride at Bramham will be missing, however. Mark Todd has pulled out of the competition because his horse, NZB Regent Lad, is not fully fit.
Todd was to have ridden Regent Lad in the CC1 three-star section.
Riders from 12 countries will be competing over the four days in three world-class eventing competitions – the Welcome to Yorkshire CC1 three-star, the Bishop Burton College Under-25 CCI three-star and the CIC three-star.
Leading the home challenge will be Yorkshire’s Nicola Wilson, William Fox-Pitt and Tina Cook, who were all part of the team that won gold at last year’s World Equestrian Games, plus Pippa Funnell, who finished just off the medal podium in fifth place with last year’s Bramham champion, Redesigned.
Current European champion, Tina Cook, has entered three horses. They include her top horse, Miners Frolic, who had to be withdrawn from Badminton after developing a sore on his back.
A good performance at Bramham could secure selection to defend their European title in August in Germany.
William Fox-Pitt will be aiming for his sixth Bramham title and has entered Lionheart plus two horses in the CIC section.
Nicola Wilson, who has competed at Bramham every year since 2003, will ride Bee Diplomatic, who was placed 10th last year.
Pippa Funnell has two CCI horses, her home-bred Billy Landretti and Pure Addiction, both with every chance of earning her a third Bramham title.
Huddersfield’s Oliver Townend could also be in contention with Neo du Breuil, who has won three of his four starts this Spring.
Also on good form are Ruth Edge, Sarah Cohen, Nick Gauntlett, Carolyn Ryan-Bell and Young Rider European champion, Emily Parker.
Flying the flag for New Zealand will be Blyth Tait, who has recently returned to eventing, and Andrew Nicholson.
Australia’s Lucinda Fredericks and Vittoria Pannizon from Italy will also be competitive as will the German squad, which includes Simone Dieterman, Peter Thomsen, Kai Rueder and Anna Warnecke.
The Bishop Burton Under-25 section is always hotly-contested but this year it promises to be one of the highlights.
Laura Collett surprised many last month when she was placed eighth on her Badminton debut, so her confidence will be high as she rides Noble Bestman.
Last year’s champion, Emily Llewellyn, has saved Junior II specifically for Bramham and Yorkshire rider Rachel Lupton will be hoping The Chenko Artist goes well.
Other names to watch for are Georgie Spence, Ben Hobday, Angus Smales and Tom McEwen.
Show-jumping is also a crowd-puller at Bramham and Saturday and Sunday’s classes have attracted some leading riders.
The Whitaker family is well represented with John, Louise, William and George all entered.
Geoff Billington and his son James, Northallerton’s Paul Barker, Peter Murphy and Scott Smith are among the other top names.
Sunday will feature the Wetherby Skips Grand Prix with a first prize of £1,500 plus the Mix and Match, always fast and furious, where an event rider is paired with a show-jumper for a competition which involves coloured fences and elements of the main cross-country course.
The Dodson & Horrell hunter show on Thursday will include Horse of the Year Show qualifiers for light, middle, heavyweight and working hunters and, at the weekend, the attractions include Pony Club mounted games and team jumping.
Finally, some of the eventing stars of the future will be in the ring to compete in the Dubarry Young Event Horse four and five-year-old qualifier for the championship in September.
JOUSTING and feasting are both on the agenda at this year’s Summit Cup polo party at the White Rose Polo Club near Market Weighton.
The party is part of a tournament weekend which attracts top polo teams from across the country.
The weekend will also feature amateur players from Yorkshire, who will compete alongside professional players in a Pro-Am tournament. The amateurs are completing a six-week intensive training programme to prepare themselves for the occasion.
The Summit Cup weekend is being held on June 11 and 12 and members of the public are welcome to take along a picnic and watch the action. Admission is £15 per car.
A medieval-themed fancy dress party will be held in the marquee on the Saturday evening and tickets for this are £55 each. For more information call 01430 875767 or email Claudia@whiterosepolo.co.uk.