Gatcombe festival set to host stars of the eventing world - and Valegro, the most famous dressage horse on the planet

July 28 2017
Thumbnail Image

MANY of the world’s top event riders will be in action at Gatcombe Park for one of the most prestigious horse trials fixtures - with the best known dressage horse also making a guest appearance.

MANY of the world’s top event riders will be in action at Gatcombe Park for one of the most prestigious horse trials fixtures - with the best known dressage horse also making a guest appearance.

British team regulars Pippa Funnell and William Fox-Pitt are among the entries for the Festival of British Eventing, along with their team-mates from the Rio Olympics, Kitty King and Gemma Tattersall.

Other Rio stars set to take on the Gatcombe challenge are the British-based New Zealanders Mark Todd and Tim Price, as well as Aussie Christopher Burton.

Crowd favourite Mary King will be joined by her daughter Emily on the start list, while Zara Tindall will be competing on home ground aboard BGS Class Affair.

South Gloucestershire will be represented throughout the weekend courtesy of Harry Meade, whose yard is in West Littleton and has several rides accepted; Chipping Sodbury’s Nick Gauntlett with Cosmic Order and Alveston’s Simon Vatcher on Camblin Hill.

Other leading British riders include Nicola Wilson, Izzy Taylor and Oliver Townend.

Meanwhile, recently retired dressage star Valegro is set to draw a big crowd when he parades in the main arena.

With his rider Charlotte Dujardin, the horse won a string of Olympic, world and European medals, retaining the individual gold medal won at the London Games when competing at Rio last year.

Valegro will be stabled close to the collecting ring after his display on the Sunday of the festival, allowing people to get close to the equine superstar.

The festival runs from Friday, August 4, to Sunday, August 6, and will be presented by BETA - the British Equestrian Trade Association.

It features the main British Open Championship, incorporating the Event Riders Masters, as well as the British intermediate and novice championships, the British Amateur Championship for the Corinthian Cup and a separate advanced class for the Neptune Trophy.

Captain Mark Phillips has again designed the cross country courses and this year has added a second water feature at Avening Banks as the next phase of development in an area of the park fast becoming popular with spectators.

He said: “The new extension to the water looks great and I’m looking forward to seeing the riders take on this challenge, which will ask new questions on this part of the course.”

Pictures courtesy of Chas Breton