Last year’s winner, William Fox-Pitt will be defending his title at the 2009 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (3-6 September) as well as aiming to repeat his win in the lucrative HSBC FEI Classics series.

The recently established HSBC FEI Classice is a series uniting five of the four-star eventing competitions currently on the international eventing circuit. The top 10 placed riders at each event receive points and the riders with the highest number of points at the end of the season are awarded prize money. The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials is the penultimate event in the HSBC FEI Classics series.

In addition Oliver Townend will be a key rider to watch at Burghley as he could be in the running for the Rolex Grand Slam after winning at Badminton in the spring. This is a unique prize awarded to any rider who can win consecutively the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials and the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Pippa Funnell achieved this extraordinary feat in 2003 at The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials with a win on Primmore’s Pride and was rewarded with a cheque for $250,000.

William Fox-Pitt will have to overcome some serious class opposition from many of the world’s top riders and horses before he can take home the Land Rover Perpetual Challenge trophy and £50,000 first prize for a second year. If successful a consecutive win would put his name in the record books — he would be the first person ever to win six Burghley titles since the inception of the competition in 1961.

“We have a truly top class field of entries this year from around the world promising a exciting four days of sport and competition,” said Burghley director, Elizabeth Inman.

The competition starts with dressage on Thursday, which will also see the popular invitation Pony Club show jumping in Ring 2, which hosts the Burghley Dubarry Young Event Horse finals on Friday.

For further information about the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, including ticket details, visit www.burghley-horse.co.uk

Keep up to date with all the news from Burghley with H&H”s interactive live text coverage of all the action at www.horseandhound.co.uk/burghleylive