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Devon's Bicton Arena ready to welcome world's best event riders for prestigious horse trials

Multiple nominated Olympic combinations will be competing at the Bicton International Horse Trials

The scene is set for a fantastic weekend of competition at the Bicton International Horse Trials, supported by Chedington, in East Devon where the park is looking at its summer best with organiser and course-designer Helen West's noticeably upgraded and beautifully presented CCI4* track.

Twelve nations with multiple nominated Olympic combinations will be represented across the three competitive sections — CCI4*-L, CCI4*-S and CCI4*-L-u25 — at the event which started today (June 10) and runs until Sunday (June 13).

Seven of the world’s top 10 are represented, including Tim and Jonelle Price from New Zealand and Australia’s Christopher Burton and Andrew Hoy. Ireland’s 2019 European bronze medallist Cathal Daniels rides Sammy Davis Junior in a competitive under-25 CCI4*-L.

Bicton Arena manager and course designer, Helen West, with her husband Andrew Fell
Bicton Arena manager and course designer, Helen West, with her husband Andrew Fell (Image: DC Media)

Nations represented are: Great Britain, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and USA.

"I am so excited," said Helen. "I have always wanted the opportunity to showcase Bicton to a wider, international audience. From a designer's point of view, there is so much different terrain to play with, but I have been mindful of keeping the flow.

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"It has been a joy being able to focus on one track [instead of several national classes] and being able to appreciate how beautiful the park is."

Captain Mark Phillips has been acting as course advisor and Helen explains: "I was really chuffed because he hasn't made many changes to my ideas - only subtle tweaks. He has so much experience as a designer and there is nothing he hasn't tried, so his advice and support has been absolutely invaluable."

Tom McEwen and Toledo de Kerser
Tom McEwen and Toledo de Kerser (Image: DC Media)

Leading riders have been assessing Helen's work and are full of respect. "The quality of the fences is fantastic," said reigning world champion Ros Canter, who is competing her Olympic longlisted horse Allstar B in the CCI4*-S.

Tom McEwen, who also has his Olympic prospect, Toledo de Kerser, in the CCI4*-S, described it as "a proper track". He added: "You would never underestimate the course here anyway, and you always know that they will do the work on the going [the track is being watered]. To come here and find 'Bramham at Bicton' is exciting and inspiring. They've done a super job."

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At this early stage of proceedings, Laura Collett holds the lead in both the CCI4*-L (on Dacapo) and the CCI4*-S on her Olympic longlisted horse London 52, and competitors in the under-25 CCI4* started their dressage phase this [Thursday] afternoon.

Tickets are still available for spectators on Saturday and Sunday (www.bicton-arena.co.uk) and live action is being streamed by Horse & Country (www.horseandcountry.tv).

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