Event director Stuart Buntine is delighted with the strong entry for the new Gillespie Macandrew Hopetoun International Horse Trials (30-31 July).
Riders from 14 countries including Columbia, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden and Denmark are among nearly 500 entries for the event. Around 70 horses will start in each of the international classes, the CIC** and the flagship CIC***.
“This is a huge international turnout for a one-day event and it is a lot more than I expected,” he said. “It is a real compliment to Hopetoun that so many riders are coming north to compete.”
British number one William Fox-Pitt has three horses entered in the CIC***, including his European Championship squad horse Cool Mountain (pictured) — who, having secured his place, is likely to run quietly if he starts the cross-country at all.
For the Irish, this event has a particular significance, as it is their final trial for the Europeans. There are nearly 30 Irish contenders in the CIC*** vying for the six squad places, including four riders from last year’s World Equestrian Games riders Geoff Curran, Mark Kyle, Sam Watson and Camilla Speirs.
“The fact that the Irish selectors have chosen Hopetoun as their international trial gives the event real credibility,” said Stuart.
Edinburgh law firm Gillespie Macandrew, which has signed as title sponsors for three years, is pleased to be involved with a new event offering competition at all levels.
“I have to commend the organisers on the breadth of event they are arranging. A superb equestrian competition for beginners through to international standard riders and a host of other attractions for a wide cross-section of the public,” said Gillespie Macandrew’s Tom Murray.
The event other attractions include the Quack Commandoes — skilful collies herding unruly ducks — a mountain bike agility display team, Highland dancing, falconry, Highland games, plus a shopping village and a kids’ zone.
Full report on Hopetoun in H&H the week after the event, out 4 August.