IT’S FESTIVAL TIME FOR EVENTING
The scene is set for a bumper weekend of sport at the Magic Millions Festival of British Eventing at HRH The Princess Royal’s Gatcombe Park at Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire on the weekend of August 5-7.
The Magic Millions British Open Championship is one of the most prestigious competitions of the season, as the roll of honour in its 39-year history testifies.
New Zealander Jonelle Price, the world number two, who followed in the legendary footsteps of Mark Todd, Blyth Tait and Andrew Nicholson when she captured the title in 2019, returns with her wonderful mare, Classic Moet.
Pippa Funnell, a former winner, brings five-star rides Majas Hope and Billy Walk On, and Oliver Townend, the world number one, has entered his brilliant Olympic partner Ballaghmor Class plus Chatsworth winner Dreamliner. Emily King, whose mother, Mary, is a multiple winner of this competition, rides Valmy Biats, while Olympic medallist Tom McEwen, who is based at Gatcombe, has Braveheart B and the 2018 British Intermediate champion CHF Cooliser.
The Evelyn Partners British Intermediate Championship, which began in 1993, has often been a pointer to stardom — previous winners include William Fox-Pitt’s Badminton and Burghley winner Tamarillo and the 2011 Badminton winner Land Vision ridden by Oliver Townend. Oliver, a four-time victor in this class, has entered Crazy Du Loir and Caunton First Class and other leading riders include Tim Price, the world number three, and former world champion Zara Tindall.
The 20th anniversary of the Dodson & Horrell British Novice Championship, a showcase for exciting young horses, has attracted more than 80 entries, and the TopSpec Challenge for The Corinthian Cup, a National Restricted Novice Championship — a wonderful opportunity for amateur riders to taste the high-profile atmosphere of Gatcombe Park — more than 50.
The organisers have been working hard to produce the most favourable going for horses around one of eventing’s most iconic cross country courses, where fantastic spectator viewing is assured. “We’ve been mowing the track since May and we have two British Eventing aerators coming on site this weekend to provide the finishing touches in order that the horses enjoy the best possible ground,” reports Course Designer Captain Mark Phillips.
There is also the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse qualifier, the ROR/NTF Retrained Racehorse Championship and, new this year, the BioWaveGO Open Intermediate and the Bredon School Open Novice. A weekend of brilliant entertainment is guaranteed with arena attractions including the Shetland Pony Grand National and Ye Old RedTail Falconry, plus there are more than 100 quality tradestands, a fun fair for the children and a new Gatcombe Farmers’ Market.
Gate admission starts at £25. For a full timetable and ticket options, visit the box office here.