Massive coup for Burgham trials

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NORTHUMBERLAND could play host to world-class riders next year, after organisers of the Burgham Horse Trials secured a major equestrian event.

British Eventing has awarded Burgham Park permission to host the only Advanced class in the North of England prior to the prestigious Badminton Horse Trials next year.

It will offer riders the chance to gain a valuable qualification and points which may be required for Badminton entry in 2012 – the year that Olympic eventing comes to the UK.

The two-day event, which will be held at Burgham Park, near Morpeth, on March 24 and 25, 2012, with both Intermediate and Advanced British Eventing classes, is also expected to attract riders from the UK and overseas taking part in the London Olympics.

An Advanced class is the highest national class that can be awarded.

Burgham trials directors Semore Kurdi and Sunil Mehra welcomed the decision.

Mr Mehra said: “We are delighted to have secured not only an Advanced event for the region but also one of the last events before the Badminton Horse Trials, which is sure to draw some of the top names in the sport to the North East in an Olympic year.

“We believe this decision demonstrates great faith in our team and recognition of its ability and commitment to make the Burgham Horse Trials the biggest equestrian event in the region.”

Next March’s event will be one of only a few Advanced fixtures in 2012 before the world-renowned Badminton Horse Trials.

The news comes as a huge boost to the Burgham team, just weeks before the inaugural British Eventing fixture takes place at Burgham Park from Friday, July 22, to Sunday, July 24.

It will feature top-class showjumping including the £12,000 prize fund Burgham Classic Grand Prix, alongside British Eventing, Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse, Burghley Event Pony, Pony Club classes, Sporthorse GB and British Show Pony Society Showing and Para Dressage.

Frances Hay-Smith, British Eventing’s regional co-ordinator, said: “I am delighted we have secured this prestigious event in Northumberland to give our members based in the North and Scotland the chance to get their qualifications and pre-Badminton runs without the huge travel costs they have had to pay in the past years.”

For more information, visit www.burghamhorsetrials.co.uk