One of Norfolk’s biggest sporting events starts today

Today will see the start of one of the biggest and most prestigious events in Norfolk's sporting calendar.

Royal rider and former world champion and BBC Sports Personality of the Year Zara Phillips is among the field of world class competitors taking part in the SPC Holdings Burnham Market International Horse Trials.

Paul Tapner, Mark Todd, William Fox-Pitt, Pippa Funnell, Andrew Nicholson and Emily Llewellyn are among some of the other big names competing in this year's event, which will be held for the 27th time at Sussex Farm today, tomorrow and Sunday.

There are 82 8 entries and conditions are looking good with the weekend weather forecast to be bright and dry.

Event spokesman Jane Hampson said: 'This event has been getting more and more popular with top international riders coming year on year to bring in the crowds.

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'There is always a great atmosphere and as it is one of the first big equestrian events of the season so it will be great chance for the riders to get their horses out and in shape for the rest of the season.'

She added: 'This is one of Norfolk's most popular sporting events and it is a rare chance for people in the county to see world and Olympic champions competing in Norfolk.

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'Conditions are looking great. The course at Burnham Market will hold up to anything, but this will mean we should have a good turnout of spectators. We usually get between 12,000 and 14,000.'

The event is also popular for family outings with more than 40 trade stands to tempt shoppers.

Fun for children includes bungee trampolines, a bouncy castle, face painting and entertainment workshop, and there will also be lurcher and falconry displays.

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