Replacement British five-star event to run over Burghley weekend

  • Bicton Arena is to host Britain’s only CCI5* horse trials of 2021, in a one-off top-level event on what would have been Burghley week.

    The Chedington Bicton Park CCI5* Horse Trials will run from 2-5 September at the Devon venue, as a replacement event after the cancellations of Badminton and Burghley. H&H reported in May that hopes of a British five-star were high, thanks to the efforts of all involved in the sport.

    The Bicton team, led by Helen West and Andrew Fell, applied to the FEI to run the one-off five-star after the venue’s successful first four-star event last month, “to meet competitor and owner demand for a competition of this level after the unprecedented cancellations of both Badminton and Burghley due to the pandemic”.

    “The Chedington Bicton Park CCI5* Horse Trials should prove a great boost to the sport after two difficult seasons and will be an opportunity to see the highest level of competition in this country for the first time in two years,” a Bicton spokesman said.

    “Bicton has again secured the generous sponsorship from Chedington, plus a prize fund of €125,000 [£107,400]. The event will be live-streamed by our supporting sponsor The Eventing Channel.”

    A new cross-country track for the event will be designed by Captain Mark Phillips, and built by Adrian Ditcham.

    New Bicton manager Andrew Fell, who is to take over from his wife Helen West, said: “We are thrilled to have been given this opportunity by the FEI to ensure Britain has a five-star competition this year. It should be a great morale boost after so much disappointment.

    “Bicton is the home of Lord and Lady Clinton, who have been so supportive of the sport and this will be an exciting time for Clinton Devon Estates.

    “Bicton is already blessed with loyal supporters, great facilities and a stunning setting and we are now full steam ahead with our aim of producing a competition truly worthy of CCI5* status.”

    Helen West, who is to take up the role as British Eventing CEO shortly, said this is a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for Bicton, and that the success of the four-star event shows the team is “ideally placed to make this a huge success”.

    “For me, this is a shining example of what can be achieved with a collaborative approach,” she added. “This whole vision was fuelled by owners, riders and organisers alike who have worked tirelessly to get this off the ground. The recognition of this achievement comes at an important time for me as I step into my new British Eventing role. It is fantastic for the sport as a whole and I look forward to exciting times ahead.”

    Continues below…

    Geoffrey Guy of Chedington added: “We have always felt that Bicton is a wonderful site that deserves to host a high level of international competition and are so pleased to be part of what will be a historic event.”

    Some spectator tickets will be on sale in the near future, from the Bicton website.

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