Olympic gold medalist, Captain Mark Phillips, has been announced as the new course designer for this year’s Gillespie Macandrew Hopetoun International Horse Trials July 27th-28th.
The equestrian star was part of the gold medal winning British team at the Munich Olympics in 1972 and the silver medal team in Seoul in 1988 as well as experiencing success in numerous home events, including four times winner at the Badminton Horse Trials.
Following last year’s London Olympics, Captain Phillips retired as the US Eventing team trainer after a 20-year tenure. He was also behind the design for the Gleneagles Equestrian Centre.
Stuart Buntine, event organiser of the Gillespie Macandrew Hopetoun Town and Country Fair, commented: “We are thrilled to have such an experienced international course designer on board at Hopetoun. Captain Phillips has a wealth of experience, past and present, in competing, designing and even writing, making him the perfect candidate for Hopetoun. Having been involved in the course design of Burghley Horse Trials and the Luhmühlen Horse Trials we are all particularly excited at the prospect of his first course design in Scotland taking place at Hopetoun.”
Mr Buntine added: “The vision is to make Hopetoun a showcase event on the Scottish equestrian calander.”
Almost 250 riders are expected to compete over the two-day event which will see cross country, showjumping and dressage classes take part. With the support of Hopetoun, all showjumping will now take place on the West Lawn in front of Hopetoun House providing a stunning backdrop for spectators while the cross country will follow a similar route to the 2012 event which saw riders passing within meters of the House.
Previous Olympic rider Ian Stark designed the course in 2012, putting in place a number of challenging and demanding jumps across the lawn. The layout of the course will not alter much within the first year, however, it is hoped Captain Phillips' involvement will see the course develop to become recognised on an international level within years to come.
Commenting on his involvement, Captain Phillips said: “As an increasingly popular event in the equestrian calendar I was flattered to be invited to Hopetoun as course designer. I am excited to be following the work of Ian Stark and look forward to creating a fast paced, exciting cross country course for all the competitors and spectators.”
The Gillespie Macandrew Hopetoun Town and Country Fair will take place in the grounds of Hopetoun House on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th July. The event will celebrate the best in country living, outdoor pursuits and the thrill of the equestrian sport. A Lifestyle Shopping Village will provide a unique shopping experience for visitors plus a full programme of family entertainment.
Tickets are priced at £15 and children under 12 go free. www.hopetountownandcountryfair.com