Stellar entries for first eventing fixtures, plus high-profile horse moves and key comebacks

  • Top horses are set to start their 2024 campaigns at Poplar Park, Oasby and Tweseldown, with strong British Eventing entries across the first two weekends of March – and a couple of leading names have changed hands over the off-season.

    Poplar Park (2-3 March) will host three packed open intermediate sections.

    Among the top horses set to start there is MGH Grafton Street, who won Burghley Horse Trials in 2019 with Pippa Funnell, but was registered into the ownership of Japanese team rider Yoshiaki Oiwa before the deadline for transfer of potential Olympic horses and will now be piloted by him.

    Several horses who have represented Britain at championships over the past few years – JL Dublin (Tom McEwen), Ballaghmor Class (Oliver Townend), Banzai Du Loir (Yasmin Ingham), London 52 (Laura Collett), Capels Hollow Drift (Tom Jackson) and Corouet (Sarah Bullimore) – are also on the Poplar entry list.

    They are joined there by Harry Meade’s trio of five-star campaigners Superstition, Cavalier Crystal and Away Cruising, Kevin McNab’s Olympic team silver medallist Scuderia 1918 Don Quidam, Pippa Funnell’s Bramham Horse Trials CCI4*-L winner MCS Maverick and Bubby Upton’s top horses Magic Roundabout IV and Cola III.

    Looking to the following weekend, Oasby (7-10 March) and Tweseldown (9-10 March) both have large eventing entries in their top sections.

    Ros Canter brings out her Badminton Horse Trials winner and European champion Lordships Graffalo at Oasby, as well as Pau Horse Trials victor Izilot DHI. Her former ride Pencos Crown Jewel is slated to make her debut under new rider Millie Juleff.

    Bramham Horse Trials CCI4*-S winner Cooley Snapchat (Selina Milnes) and five-star campaigners Alfies Clover (Richard Jones), SRS Kan Do (Kylie Roddy), Valmy Biats (Emily King) and Coolparks Sarco (Piggy March) also all head to Oasby.

    David Doel is hedging his bets on where he will run Burghley runner-up Galileo Nieuwmoed, as he is entered for both Oasby and Tweseldown. David also has a new ride on the list for Tweseldown in King Of The Mill, a five-star horse previously campaigned by Alex Bragg.

    Tim Price’s string will make seasonal debuts at Tweseldown, including Falco IV, the world double bronze medallist who had surgery to remove a tumour last October, and Coup De Coeur Dudevin, the Maryland CCI5* winner in 2022 who sat out much of last season.

    Gemma Stevens’ ride Chilli Knight is another on the comeback trail – he has done very little since winning Bicton Horse Trials’ one-off CCI5* in 2021, but is set to run at Tweseldown, as is Gemma’s fellow chestnut five-star campaigner Jalapeno III.

    The advanced intermediate at Tweseldown will host first runs for Austin O’Connor’s Maryland winner Colorado Blue, European individual silver medallist Vendredi Biats (Kitty King) and Zara Tindall’s five-star horse Class Affair.

    Riders often make multiple entries for the start of the season, to give themselves options in the lead-up to their spring three-day event targets if events are cancelled or they have setbacks in the build-up, so some of these top names may not run everywhere they are entered.

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