Olympic medallists, Zara Tindall and comeback horses head to Gatcombe for British open

  • British Olympic team gold medallists and the defending champion head up the Gatcombe Horse Trials entries for the British open championship at this weekend’s Magic Millions Festival of British Eventing.

    Oliver Townend and Tom McEwen both have the horses with whom they won gold at the Tokyo Olympics, Ballaghmor Class and Toledo De Kerser, lining up in the Magic Millions British open championship. Oliver also has Swallow Springs in the class, while Tom has three rides, with last year’s British intermediate champion Luna Mist and MHS Brown Jack joining Toledo on the starting blocks.

    New Zealand’s Tim Price and Vitali, last year’s British open champions, are also among the 35 Gatcombe Horse Trials entries for this flagship class, aiming to take back-to-back titles.

    Zara Tindall rides her top horse Class Affair in the British open. He is among the contenders in this class who will then head to Burghley Horse Trials; some of these horses may not run across country at Gatcombe, depending on their riders’ build-up plan for the five-star.

    Alice Casburn and Topspin will also contest the British open on the way to Burghley – this is the young star’s debut in this class. Topspin was not on his best form at Badminton Horse Trials in the spring, but has since been treated for ulcers and showed his fitness with a recent advanced win at Aston-le-Walls.

    Billy Walk On, who was third here last year with Pippa Funnell, and Colorado Blue, third at Badminton under Ireland’s Austin O’Connor, will also be ones to watch. Piggy March’s ride, the 2021 European individual silver medallist Brookfield Inocent – who missed last year with injury but has also returned on good form with a win at Aston-le-Walls last month – is worth keeping an eye on, too.

    The Dodson & Horrell British novice championship is the largest of the three main championship classes, with 67 entries. Oliver Townend had a one-two in this class last year, but has just one entry this time, En Taro Des Vernier.

    There are 34 scheduled to go to post in the Evelyn Partners British intermediate championship, including Oliver’s 2022 novice champion Finley Du Loir.

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