Oliver Townend is both the first and the last competitor into the arena, starting at 9.30am on Thursday, 30 August with MHS King Joules and at 4.31pm on Friday 31 August with last year’s winner, Ballaghmor Class. Oliver also rides Cooley SRS at 9.54am on Friday.
Oliver isn’t actually the first rider into the arena though — before the dressage starts, a “guinea pig” rider will perform the test. This person is not actually competing, but runs through the dressage test in the same way as a competitor to allow the judges to get their eye in and so officials can check that all the systems are working correctly. This year’s guinea pig is Ros Canter, with her second-string four-star horse Zenshera.
Five-time Burghley winner Andrew Nicholson starts on Jet Set IV at 10.18am on Thursday and with Swallow Springs at 4.15pm on Friday.
His fellow Kiwi and five-time winner Mark Todd also has two horses — NZB Campino at 9.38am on Thursday and Kiltubrid Rhapsody at 3.04pm on Friday.
Tim Price will be another New Zealand favourite for the title this time and he pilots Ringwood Sky Boy at the end of Friday (3.59pm) as well as Bango early tomorrow (10.02am).
For the Brits, Piggy French has a strong chance with last year’s runner-up Vanir Kamira. They will do their dressage at 2.08pm on Thursday.
The home crowd will also be keen to see Tina Cook with Star Witness (10.02am on Friday) and Pippa Funnell riding Majas Hope (11.10am on Friday).
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Full report from Burghley in H&H on Thursday, 6 September, including exclusive expert comments, full analysis of every phase, the best photographs and more.