Young event rider Denis Matthews says he is “carrying on regardless” after his horsebox was stolen from his yard on the eve of his Burghley debut.

The horse trials is the first four-star event for both 25-year-old Denis and his horse Statham Sabu.

But he narrowly escaped losing his entire kit when thieves took the coach-built Ford Iveco lorry from his yard in Lymm, Warrington.

“It was lucky that they came Sunday rather than Monday night, or we would have been all packed for Burghley,” said Denis.

“They only got half the stuff – hats and back protectors, so I had to rush out and get new ones but it could have been much worse.

“And we were able to borrow a friend’s wagon, so we’re just carrying on regardless.”

Denis says he’s looking forward to the show jumping and cross country but the dressage will provide more of a challenge for him and his 13-year-old gelding.

“I can’t say I fancy the counter-canter serpentine,” he said, “but after that it should be plain sailing.”