Equestrian - World's best eventers head to Blenheim

The 23rd edition of the Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials get under way this week, with some of the world's best eventers set to light up Oxfordshire.

Equestrian - World's best eventers head to Blenheim

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Blenheim Palace (AndG - Fotolia.com)

Last year over 70,000 spectators passed through the gates and were treated to home hero William Fox-Pitt emerging victorious after four days of competition, ahead of Mark Todd and Kristina Cook.

Twelve months on and the Briton will again be present as he looks to defend his title, albeit with Before Time and Running Order rather than last year's triumphant horse Seacookie.

Before Time will compete his first three-star class, while Running Order had an opportunity to gain some experience with American Douglas Payne before joining Fox Pitt's stables earlier this season. With his new rider, the horse placed fourth at Blair Castle last month.

Fox-Pitt is one of 84 competitors due to start in the top CCI three-star class, with four-times winner Pippa Funnell aboard Or Noir de la Loge also featuring.

British hopes will be further boosted by Gemma Tattersalls with Arctic Soul and Sara Squires with Orto, winners in Bramham in June.

New Zealand too will be well represented with Mark Todd on Up N Go, Jonelle Richard on Faerie Dianimo, Andrew Nicholson on Viscount George, Caroline Powell on Thornfield Jones and Tim Price on Ringwood Skyboy all present.

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