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Eighty Compete For Land Rover Trophy
Stamford, UK
2008 Winner William Fox-Pitt and Tamarillo
The 2009 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials are now underway and after the first horse inspection eighty combinations are in contention for the Land Rover perpetual challenge trophy.

The Ground jury of: David Lee (President - IRL), Sue Baxter (GBR) and Roeli Bril (NED) assed the horses this evening. Both Zin Zan III (no. 41) the ride of Rodney Powell (GBR) and Birthday Night (no. 88) the ride of Georgie Spence (GBR) were held and eliminated after re-inspection. Twenty-year-old Georgie, who will again be the youngest rider, has Running Brook (no. 4) in contention.

Nine riders have two horses including British European team member William Fox-Pitt who will be vying for his third consecutive and record sixth victory at Burghley. This year he brings Macchiato, last years Luhmuhlen winner who was fifth at Badminton in the spring and the German bred Seacookie. It will be a first time round Capt. Mark Phillip' Burghley course for both of them. A win or high placing would also give William more points in the HSBC FEI Classics standings before the final event in the series at Pau. Badminton winner Oliver Townend currently heads the standings - but is just one point ahead of William. Oliver, who is also a member of this year's British European team, is the last in the running order with the grey Carousel Quest his only ride this year.

New Zealander Andrew Nicholson, also a former winner, has the Spanish-bred full brothers Armada and Nereo. While others have tried as yet no rider has managed to achieve the feat of completing on full-brothers in the same year. British rider Harry Meade also has two horses including the evergreen cross-country specialist Midnight Dazzler who at 19-years is the oldest horse in the field.

It is 16 years since an American rider - Stephen Bradley in 1993 - last won Burghley. This year a contingent of nine riders have made the trip across the Atlantic - seven including experienced riders Phillip Dutton (Tru Luck) and Karen O'Connor (Mandiba) are representing America and two first timers, Kyle Carter (Madison Park) and Diana Burnett (Manny) Canada.

Sharon Hunt and Tankers Town, who have withdrawn from the competition, will be the 'guinea pig' dressage rider at 09.00 and the first competitive rider will be New Zealander Annabel Wigley and Black Drum and the last will be American Missy Ransenhousen and Critical Decision at 16.30.

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