Ian Stark (pictured) will take over from Sue Benson as cross-country course-designer at Bramham Horse Trials next year.

This year marks Sue’s 10th as designer at Bramham, but she will now step down to concentrate on desigining the course for the 2012 Olympics in London.

Bramham event director Nicholas Pritchard said: “It has always been the policy here at Bramham to keep rotating the course-designers and Sue is our longest serving, but with the added pressure of 2012 and her other events, it was decided we are ready for a change.

“Ian was an obvious choice for us — not only because of his talent and feel for design as a former rider, but of course Bramham has been such a happy hunting ground for him in the past.”

Ian won Bramham four times — in 1983 (Sir Wattie), 1984 (Charlie Brown IV), 1985 (Deansland) and 1996 (Forest Glen) — and this will be his first time designing at CCI*** level in Britain.

The cross-country course at Bramham is having a major re-route this year, with 50% of the track covering new terrain.

Mr Pritchard added; “Sue has been one of Bramham’s best assets in recent years. Her attention to detail, knowledge of the park and flair for design have ensured the riders want to come back to Bramham again and again while keeping our visitors entertained with a real test of horsemanship. I’m certainly looking forward to her unveiling of this year’s course with the new route and fences.”

This year’s Bramham takes place 11-14 June and you can save money by booking tickets in advance. Visit www.bramham-horse.co.uk.

Don’t forget to buy next week’s Horse & Hound (30 April) to read Ian Stark’s assessment of this year’s Badminton course.