The Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe is one of the summer highlights for eventing fans. Let’s indulge in some speculation on the likely outcome of this weekend’s competition…

British open championship, including HSBC FEI World Cup qualifier

Last year’s winner: Ruth Edge on Mayhem III (pictured)

Top tip for 2009: Mary King on Imperial Cavalier. On excellent form this year and judging by her past record, the fact the horse is going to the European Championships won’t put Mary off running competitively. She won here in 2007 with Call Again Cavalier before going on to take individual silver and team gold in Pratoni. If she wins this year, she will set a new record as the first person to win five British open titles.

Also look out for: frankly, you don’t want to blink during this event as it’s stuffed full of class combinations. All of Britain’s European squad riders are there, mostly on their team horses, while there’s likely to be a hot foreign challenge from the likes of Lucinda Fredericks on Headley Britannia, Caroline Powell on Lenamore and Andrew Nicholson on Armada and Nereo.

Smith & Williamson British intermediate championship

Last year’s winner: Oliver Townend on NZB Land Vision

Top tip for 2009: Lucy Wiegersma on Simon Porloe. They’ve got excellent two-star form and were leaders after dressage and show jumping at Barbury, when Lucy opted to give him a quiet run across country.

Also look out for: Piggy French on the in-form Flying Machine and Gatcombe-lover William Fox-Pitt on Corofin Flyer or Neuf Des Coeurs.

Dodson & Horrell British novice championship

Last year’s winner: Brook Staples on DHI Vitesse

Top tip for 2009: Rodney Powell on Cotton King. Prolifically successful in young horse classes, this title would look like a natural progression.

Also look out for: Ruth Edge on Applejack II, who probably would have won Burgie CCI* if Ruth hadn’t been injured in falls from other horses and unable to complete the show jumping, Richard Jones on Highland Ford, who already has CCI** and advanced experience, and Daisy Dick on Houghton CCI* runner-up Brookfield De Bouncer.

Who do you think will win at Gatcombe?

Join the debate in the forum.

Enjoy the build-up with the Gatcombe team

You can live the final countdown to Gatcombe with the team on-site this year, as director Tim Henson writes a daily blog on the Gatcombe website.

Gatcombe podcasts

Listen to Mark Phillips talk about the cross-country course and the going at Gatcombe.

Listen to Tim Henson talk about the addition of the World Cup qualifier class to this year’s event.

Visiting Gatcombe

Head to for all the info you need.

Stay up to date over the weekend…

…with reports on on Saturday and Sunday. There will also be a gallery of pictures from Gatcombe online after the event.

And don’t forget…

…to buy H&H next week for our full report on the Festival of British Eventing, including Tina Cook’s column.