The Blenheim Petplan International Horse Trials is planning to run this year under the recently unveiled new format of a CCI three-day event without the roads and tracks or steeplechase phases.

The new “three-day event without steeplechase” format still has to go in front of the FEI’s general assembly in Paris next month, and, if ratified, will be available for use by events from the beginning of September 04.

If all goes ahead as expected, Blenheim may be the first three-day event to run under the new format.

Blenheim director Mike Etherington-Smith says: “As all FEI championships are to be run in this format in future, and we have the Europeans at Blenheim in 2005, it makes sense for us to use this year to iron out the wrinkles and get everyone accustomed to the idea.”

Under the new format the traditional order of phases will remain with the initial horse inspection taking place prior to the dressage, which will be followed by cross-country on the second day, with a final horse inspection on the last day before the show jumping test.

Blenheim spokesperson, Kate Green, explains: “The change in format will not make Blenheim any less important as an event. It will carry the same qualification status as the traditional CCI*** three-day event with the steeplechase and roads and tracks phases, and the same FEI and British Eventing points. Therefore, it will still count as a qualifier for Badminton 2005.”

Last year Blenheim was heavily over-subscribed and organisers have confirmed that balloting will again take place and that no dressage will be run on the Wednesday.

“As there is a shortage of three-star three-day events this autumn, I hope that this information will help competitors to plan their season more easily,” explains Mike.

Blenheim’s Box Office, which offers substantial discounts on advance bookings, opens on 1 May. Spectators will be able book tickets online via the dedicated website: www.blenheim-horse.co.uk or call (tel: 0870 240 8652).