Where Champions Are Made
Some fiercely competitive and thrilling sport is guaranteed at the Magic Millions Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park, Gloucestershire, as top riders such as Christopher Burton, Tom McEwen and Francis Whittington try to defend their titles against the cream of competitors based in this country.
The British circuit, with events held against the backdrop of magnificent country houses, such as HRH The Princess Royal’s Gatcombe Park, has long been a draw for international riders and Australian Olympian’s Christopher Burton’s superb victory in the British Open last year was a particular thrill for the new title sponsor, Australian thoroughbred auction house house Magic Millions.
Christopher, who is known for his stylish prowess across country, rides the mare Lawtown Chloe in the Magic Millions British Open this time. The world number seven will, however, face the impressive speed of New Zealander Jonelle Price and her 2018 Badminton winner, Classic Moet, plus the always competitive Oliver Townend, who has entered four horses, including five-star winners Ballaghmor Class and Cooley Master Class.
Gatcombe-based Tom McEwen, a member of last year’s gold medal British team at the World Equestrian Games and the current world number four, has multiple rides across the weekend. He has entered Figaro Van Het Broekxhof, a horse on which he has had excellent results this year, in the Magic Millions British Open and defends his Smith & Williamson British Intermediate title with Braveheart B and Dreamaway.
In this class, he will face such brilliant riders as William Fox-Pitt, who has 16 Gatcombe titles to his name, world number two Oliver Townend, Alex Bragg, Izzy Taylor and Harry Meade.
Francis Whittington will try to defend his Dodson & Horrell British Novice crown with Brother Bertie against the likes of Pippa Funnell on the home-produced Billy Wonder plus riders from the Netherlands, Italy, New Zealand and France in this always hotly contested class, a showcase for stars of the future.
The TopSpec Challenge for the Corinthian Cup provides a terrific example for amateur riders to sample the prestigious cross country course designed by Captain Mark Phillips, which offers such excellent spectator viewing in the bowl beneath the house, and the Retraining of Racehorses class puts past heroes of the turf in the spotlight.
Away from the eventing, there’s plenty of entertainment for all, including Shetland pony racing, Pony Club mounted games, falconry display, dressage to music, dog agility and fun dog show, plus more than 100 varied tradestands.
To purchase your tickets, visit www.festivalofbritisheventing.com
Advanced ticket offers are available until the end of July, so don’t delay!
*Stop Press, entries are still being taken – www.bdwp.co.uk/gat/*