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Piggy leads the charge as Britain's top trio go for glory at Burgham.

Byline: ANNA HARRIS

THE top three event riders in Britain this year are all travelling North next week to compete at Burgham International Horse Trials.

Last year at Burgham, British rider Piggy French produced the best finishing score at a British international event since 2015 when winning the CCI2*-S on Emerald Jonny, according to data and analytics company Equiratings.

Since then, she has won a team gold medal at the World Equestrian Games and scored a brilliant victory at Badminton Horse Trials.

She returns to Burgham with a full team of five horses to compete in Burgham's three international classes.

Piggy is just one of the multitude of the world's top riders who are set to compete at Burgham on July 26-28.

In fact, the top three riders in Britain so far in 2019 - Piggy, Oliver Townend and Izzy Taylor - are all coming North.

Townend brings both of his very top horses to Burgham.

They are Cooley Master Class - winner of the CCI5* event at Kentucky for the second successive year this April - and Ballaghmor Class.

The latter, winner of the CCI4*-S class at Burgham last year, is the most successful CCI5* horse currently competing, having won Burghley in 2017 and finished second at both Badminton and Burghley in the past 12 months.

Between them, Piggy and Oliver won all three of Burgham's international classes in 2018. Can they do so again? And can Izzy Taylor pull off her first Burgham victory? Other British stars on show at Burgham will be Harry Meade, Izzy Taylor, local hero Ben Hobday and Olympian Kitty King, who is riding her recent Bramham CCI4*-L winner and British team hope Vendredi Biats.

In all 10 nations will be represented - Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Finland, The Netherlands, Hong Kong and Japan.

Burgham director Martyn Johnson said: "Our entries are better than ever this year, which is great testament to the team for putting on an event which has very quickly become known as one of the best in the UK, providing great ground conditions and courses in a very friendly, relaxed atmosphere.

"Burgham gives eventing fans an incredible opportunity to see the heroes of the sport at close quarters, away from the pressures of, say, Badminton or Burghley. We have some of the most famous horses in the world coming to Burgham - come and see them and enjoy a really good day out."

Burgham International Horse Trials 2019 begins with the dressage phase of the international classes on Friday, July 26.

On the Saturday it is the turn of the national competitors, including many Northumberland riders, with classes ranging from BE90 to Open Intermediate.

The jumping phases of the three international classes (the Newton Hall CCI4*-S, the Howard Russell Construction CCI3*-S and the Metnor Group CCI2*-S) take place on Sunday, July 28.

Burgham's cross-country courses, designed by former World and Olympic champion Blyth Tait and David Evans, who is responsible for building the cross-country courses for both the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2019 European Championships, are bound to provide thrilling action for spectators.

Burgham also hosts Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse classes on Friday, July 26 and British Riding Clubs area showjumping qualifiers on Sunday, July 28.

As well as a feast of horse sport, there is plenty to entertain spectators - delicious food, licensed bars, shopping opportunities and children's entertainment.

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Piggy French celebrates her victory on Vanir Kamira at Badminton in May
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 20, 2019
Words:579
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