This weekend sees one of the highlights of the British Eventing calendar, the British Novice and Intermediate Championships and the CIC*** and Advanced classes all held at Gatcombe Park.
Competition to compete at the Championships is always fierce, and it’s not surprising to see some of the biggest names in the British eventing scene with multiple rides.
In the Novice Champs class, Oliver Townend has a seriously strong hand with 5, comprising Mister Strider, BGS Captain Morgan, Red Andes Fanfare, Power Drive and Colonel Joe.
William Fox-Pitt has 2 (Topaze du Plain, Top Biats) as does Tom McEwen (Toledo de Kerser and Staff des Champs) while Paul Tapner, Sharon Hunt, Laura Collett and Pippa Funnell all have a good chance. Sharon’s Loughnatousa Fabio (‘Superman’ to his friends) is particularly exciting and one to watch, I know she thinks very highly of him.
In the Intermediate Champs, Laura Collett has Obos Cooley and Pamero 4, Andrew Nicholson has Urma BK and Jet Set IV, Oliver Townend has Cooley SRS & Shearwater Touchingwood, and there are lots of others who look destined for stardom.
The CIC 3 star has many illustrious entries who are potentially WEG-bound, but might not run XC, depending on the ground and/or the selectors, I suspect. Kilronan, High Kingdom, Borough Pennyz, Oloa, Avebury, Happy Times, Easy Target, Armada, Black Tie, Briarlands Matilda and Nereo are all entered, as is Opposition Buzz, already victorious at 3* level this year at Hopetoun, and probably a real favourite for the win at Gatcombe. The time is always tight because of the steep hills, so it really favours the really quick XC specialists.
Gatcombe always has a very special atmosphere, and is a great venue for spectators. Admission prices are very reasonable, with a ‘season ticket’ for all 3 days costing just £36. Tickets can be purchased HERE before midnight today (31 July) if you want to take advantage of the discounted prices.
Don’t forget that as of next year there will be a new Restricted National Novice Championships, for amateurs, held over a totally new course at Gatcombe. Even more reason to go next year if you haven’t made plans to get there this year… but if you can, do, you won’t be disappointed!