There is no clear favourite to win this year’s national title at Stoneleigh Park. With last year’s champion Escapado sold, the nation’s hero Carl Hester will not pose a threat.
Fellow Olympian Richard Davison’s 2003 winner Ballaseyer Royale is in-foal to Geldnet Lingh. The mare has retired and Richard will not compete with new hope Hiscox Karachi.
Nicola McGivern’s Olympic ride Active Walero is also not entered. Wayne Channon is the only 2005 European team member making the trip, as Emma Hindle and Fiona Bigwood are staying away.
Peter Storr and Gambrinus (pictured) have been the bridesmaids for the past two years, despite winning in 2000 and 2001. Emile Faurie and Rascher Hopes have also been knocking at the door; 2005 could be their year.
Wayne Channon and Henriette Andersen have been impressing selectors with plus-70% international scores and promising senior team debuts. But a national title would add weight to their team campaigns.
Former pony and young rider team medallists Maria Eilberg and Laura Bechtolsheimer are successfully bridging the gap between under-21 and senior competition. Can either of them beat the more established names?
Maria’s father Ferdi Eilberg has been busy this year in his capacity as British team trainer, but with solid performances on Teutone at Hickstead, this past master will impress.
Carol Parsons continues to produce good results on part-Shires Giddy and Walter IV. She proves it is training not breeding that makes a winner — will she make a champion here? Only time will tell.
Thursday 15 September 8.30am Equimax Elementary Open Championship; 2.30pm Lansdown Rugs Intermediaire II Championship; 8.00am Equimax Elementary Restricted Championship; 11.05am Derby House Prix St Georges Championship.
Friday 16 September 7.47am Dodson & Horrell Novice Open Championship; 12.50pm Saracen Horse Feeds Advanced Medium Championship; 8.28am KBIS Disabled Dressage Rider Championship; 11.10am Equistro Intermediaire I Championship; 1.55pm Shearwater Supreme Championship; 3.30pm Equistro Intermediaire I Championship cont.
Saturday 17 September 8.08am Biotal Equine Gold Medium Open Championship; 8.00am Dodson & Horrell Novice Restricted Championship; 10.38am Grange Hotels Grand Prix Championship; 1.36pm Pas de Deux with Anna Ross and Ian Cast; 2.40pm easibed Intermediaire I Freestyle Championship; 4.04pm Sheepgate Tack & Togs Master Class with Emile Faurie; 4.49pm easibed Intermediaire I Freestyle Championship cont; 5.45pm The Devils Horsemen.
Sunday 18 September 8.36am NFU Mutual Preliminary Championship; 8.00am 4 Year Olds; 9.30am 5 Year Olds; 8.36am Biotal Equine Gold Medium Restricted Championship; 11.30am Panacur Potential International Dressage Horse Championship; 12.55pm Pas de Deux with Anna Ross and Ian Cast; 2.05pm Maui Jim Grand Prix Freestyle Championship; 3.01pm English Vaulting Squad Display; 3.11pm European Young Rider Championship Team Quadrille; 3.21pm Sheepgate Tack & Togs Master Class with Emile Faurie; 4.11pm Maui Jim Grand Prix Freestyle Championship cont; 5.15pm The Devils Horsemen; 5.25pm Prize giving for the Grand Prix Freestyle Championship; 5.35pm Presentation.
Tickets for the show are available on the gate. Tickets costs £10 per person on Thursday and Friday, £12 Saturday and Sunday. For details of entries and directions visit: www.bdchampionships.co.uk