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Fresh challenges for riders at Gatcombe unveiled

This year’s Festival of British Eventing is to be the “dawning of a new era” for the event, according to organisers.

The event, which is held at Gatcombe Park, Glos, is going to be “new, different and exciting” for 2015 (7-9 August).

“The 2015 Festival of British Eventing will feature many exciting new elements, which we are sure will make it better than ever,” said Tim Henson, event director.

“We are not going to give too many stories away, but suffice to say there are major changes afoot for the cross-country course and other areas — watch this space.”

There will be four championship classes — open, intermediate, novice, and the new “Corinthian Cup” for amateurs only.

To complement this, there will be four “completely new” cross-country courses with no loop up in the car park and through the barn, plus “previously unchartered territory” in the park bowl used.

The course will also run much closer to the house than previously.

H&H spoke to course-designer Mark Phillips, who revealed that the cross-country will have different challenges this year.

“The biggest change is that we are not going up into the car park this year, which should hopefully have logistical benefits,” he told H&H.

“The one thing that I can never change about Gatcombe is the terrain. I am conscious of trying to take out some of it [steep hills] but it is very hard to do.”

There will also be changes to the layout in the trade stand area with additional attractions, demonstrations and activities.

The new restricted novice championship, the “Corinthian Cup”, is an addition to the British Eventing (BE) calendar for this year.

BE said it will be a “true novice test”.

Riders must not have completed an intermediate class this year or in the past five years, and must not have completed an advanced class in the past 10 years.

“BE is pleased that amateur riders’ aspirations will now include the opportunity to compete at a prestigious championship venue following feedback from BE members about the lack of a novice level championship on the existing calendar,” added a spokesman.

➤ For more information visit: www.gatcombe-horse.co.uk and www.britisheventing.com

Ref: Horse & Hound; 2 April

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