Last year’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials winner William Fox-Pitt comes into this year’s competition with as strong a hand of horses as any rider.
His first ride is number 23, the 2005 winner Ballincoola, while at the end of the competition he has Tamarillo, number 86. Freed from the British team duties he has carried out so often at the end of the year, the 2004 Badminton winner makes his debut at the autumn classic.
William is bidding for a fifth victory at Burghley — if he achieves it he will equal the record five wins achieved by Ginny Elliot and Mark Todd.
Other former winners heading to Lincolnshire this weekend include Andrew Hoy, with the 2004 victor Moon Fleet. Andrew hasn’t had the best of years — a fall at Badminton, an FEI investigation and non-selection for the Olympics — so he’ll be looking to put all that behind him at Burghley.
Lucy Wiegersma’s 2008 has been peppered with highs and lows — second at Badminton and Olympic selection followed by the devastating news of Shaabrak’s fitness setback and being dropped from the British team. The delicate chestnut proved he’s back on form with his recent fifth place in the Scottish Open at Thirlestane, so Lucy will have everything crossed for this weekend.
Dressage expert Ruth Edge is on superb form after wins at Gatcombe and Thirlestane. She should be one to watch with Mr Dumbledore, who also went well in the first two phases at Bramham but is not the best show jumper.
One of Ruth’s ex rides, Muschamp Impala, is likely to make an early impression. Now being ridden by Andrew Nicholson, he starts at number 9, while the Kiwi also has Armada at the end of the field.
If you’re heading to Burghley on Thursday make sure you get there in time to see British double Olympic bronze medallists Tina Cook and Miners Frolic perform the guinea pig test before the dressage begins. It’s a fabulous this chance to see Britain’s Hong Kong heroine in action — and definitely worth the early start.
Don’t miss this Thursday’s issue (4 September) for full Burghley form guide.
Keep up to date with all the action from Burghley on www.horseandhound.co.uk/burghley08 and buy next Thursday’s issue (11 September) for H&H’s 12-page special report.
Log on on Thursday for video highlights of Wednesday’s trot-up, plus video blogs from Tracy Garside and Sara Squires.