Can William Fox-Pitt win a remarkable eighth Equi-Trek Bramham CCI3* title at the Yorkshire event this week (11-14 June)?
William rides Carol Gee and Catherine Witt’s Fernhill Pimms, by VDL Ard Douglas, in the CCI3* at Bramham Horse Trials this time. At 11, the horse is a little older than some of William’s other winners here, but he did not join the world number one’s stable until his nine-year-old season. Since then, his list of victories includes the eight- and nine-year-old CIC3* at Blenheim and the CCI2* at Osberton last year.
Oliver Townend brings three horses and in the dressage all eyes will be on his late entry and new ride Lanfranco, recently third in the advanced at Little Downham. Spectators will be keen to see if the horse can stay calm after becoming wound up with Andrew Hoy at Badminton, his final competition with the Australian before he joined Oliver’s string.
Kitty King is on a roll after her first CCI3* win at Tattersalls with Ceylor LAN and she could make it two in quick succession with Persimmon here. And Emilie Chandler had her first victory at the level with Gino Royale at Ballindenisk — Coopers Law could round out the pair at Bramham.
The Bishop Burton College under-25 CCI3* is always a small class, but closely fought — to be national under-25 champion is a prestigious honour. Emily King is one to watch on Brookleigh — recently third in the CIC3* at Chatsworth — while Dani Evans could go one better with her 2013 runner-up Raphael II.
The BETA CIC3* has become a strong class, with plenty of contenders on the way to the annual senior championships having a run here. British audiences have the rare privilege of seeing Sandra Auffarth’s world champion Opgun Louvo in this class.
The home side challengers will include 2014 Tattersalls CCI3* winner Izzy Taylor and Allercombe Ellie, on the comeback trail after injury prevented them from competing at the World Equestrian Games.
Look out too for Pippa Funnell and Billy The Biz, who led the British team to second place in the Nations Cup at Houghton last month.
Check back on H&H online for updates from Bramham later in the week. Full report in the magazine next week, out Thursday, 18 June.