Britain’s Olympic team silver medal trio William Fox-Pitt, Zara Phillips and local star Nicola Wilson top a star studded entry of over 140 riders from 11 countries across three eventing competitions for this year’s Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials, 6 – 9 June. Leading riders Pippa Funnell, Oliver Townend, Piggy French and Laura Collett are just a few names among an eventing who’s who for the home side while a strong international entry is topped by fierce challengers from New Zealand, Ireland, Germany, Italy and France, who always bring a top class entry. The riders will compete across three sections; the Equi-Trek CCI3*, the British Equestrian Trade Association CIC3* and the Bishop Burton College U25 CCI3*.

All three British Olympians have excellent spring form with their Bramham rides and will head to Yorkshire in high spirits, which is just as well as four days of 40th birthday celebrations are anticipated alongside top class sporting action! William will be aiming for a staggering seventh Bramham victory and he bring last year’s winner Chilli Morning, owned by the Stones, after a trip to the USA didn’t quite go to plan, so the chestnut stallion has re-routed to Bramham in the Equi-Trek CCI3*. William also has Running Order, a new addition to his string in the CCI and Before Time in the CIC, both owned by Mandy Gray. Zara has two CCI rides in Lord Lauries and Gledhill Stud’s Black Tuxedo and Nicola makes the short journey with Beltane Queen, owned by Ann Robson and Valerie Robson, and her mum Mary Tweddle’s Annie Clover, also in the CCI.

Four of the five Olympic team bronze medallists from the New Zealand team are competing, namely Badminton winner Jonathan Paget with two in the British Equestrian Trade Association CIC3*, Jonelle Richards, Caroline Powell and Sir Mark Todd. For France, Donatien Schauly makes a welcome return after he claimed the CIC and U25 sections in 2010 plus top riders Sidney Dufresne, Cedric Lyard and young sensation Nicolas Astier who returns to defend his Bishop Burton College U25 title. Anna Warnecke (GER), Austin O’Connor (IRL), Andrew Heffernan (NED) and Vittoria Panizzon (ITA) are a few more of the international names to watch out for across the sections.

Dressage for the CCI and CIC sections gets underway on Thursday 6 June while all three sections will be in the main arena in the white boards on Friday. Saturday is the big spectator day which starts with CIC show jumping and then all will tackle Ian Stark’s fabulous cross country course set in the rolling Bramham Park. Ian commented that “the Park is the best I’ve ever seen it and the going is perfect” ahead of the event. First off will be the CCI section, then the under 25s before the CIC set off to establish the winner of the £1,500 first prize. Sunday is the day when fortunes are won and lost in the Equi-Trek Arena at the drop of a coloured pole in the show jumping. The U25s are first on before the final CCI section and with over £27,000 on offer across the two sections, a clear round will be firmly on the riders’ minds. To ensure, however, the CCI riders minds are truly focused on the task in hand, Equi-Trek are giving the winner the use of a two horse lorry for the year, William Fox Pitt described this last year as ‘an incredible prize’.

Over the weekend there’s a host of top level pure show jumping in Bramham’s Equi-Trek Arena. Top names entered include Keith Shore, Tracy Newman and host of Whitakers, namely Joe, Thomas and Donald. Saturday afternoon features The Bramham Classic while those glued to the cross country in the park can head back to the tradestand area to catch the Great Yorkshire Show Pony Club Mounted Games – and of course make those last minute purchases from the 140 shops. On Sunday, the action switches to the TopSpec Arena for the Pairs Relay where jumpers pair up for a fast and furious competition against the clock. The afternoon comes to a close with the Wetherby Skip Services Grand Prix, the wealthiest jumping class on offer, with a £1,500 first prize.
Event Director Nicholas Pritchard commented “In 2013, we’re delighted to welcome back one of our long standing partners; as Land Rover return after a year’s gap as our official vehicle supplier.” Spectators will see their range of Britain’s favourite 4×4 vehicles in action all over the park as well as the chance to visit them in the tradestand area to learn all about their iconic models. Land Rover’s Sponsorship and Partnership Manager, Richard Duncan, commented: “Land Rover is proud to return to Bramham as the official vehicle supplier, not only supporting the event and riders, but also demonstrating our on-going support for Equestrian sport and country pursuits.”

Bramham will also host a number of classes in the Dodson & Horrell Hunter Show on Thursday including Horse of the Year Show qualifiers for light, middle & heavy weight and working Hunters while the Great Yorkshire Show Pony Club Mounted Games will feature in the TopSpec Arena on both Saturday and Sunday plus the Country Store Pony Club Team Jumping on Saturday. Always with an eye on the future, young horses will also feature heavily with Bramham hosting a Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse four and five year old qualifier for the prestigious Championship in September, plus Trot2 Event Horse Breeding and Young Stock Classes for foals to three year olds.