Top riders head for Norfolk

World-class riders are heading to the county this weekend as the international equestrian spotlight is once again cast upon Norfolk. The Queen's grand-daughter, European and world eventing champion Zara Phillips, heads up a star-studded line-up.

World-class riders are heading to the county this weekend as the international equestrian spotlight is once again cast upon Norfolk.

The Queen's grand-daughter, and European and world eventing champion Zara Phillips heads up a star-studded line-up for the annual Easco Burnham Market World Cup Horse Trials which starts on Thursday April 5.

It is the second-year running that Miss Phillips, who was crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2006, and her horse Toytown have appeared at the three-day event which is at Sussex Farm and sponsored by the EDP.

Joining her are a whole host of other top sportsmen and women including the world's top four riders in eventing - Australia's Andrew Hoy, Britain's William Fox-Pitt, Australia's Clayton Fredericks and Germany's Bettina Hoy.

A further four of the top 15 riders in eventing across the globe will also be competing and other equestrian stars include three-time Olympic champion Matt Ryan, from Australia, British Olympic medallist Pippa Funnell, and four-time British Champion Mary King. Norfolk's own Piggy French, from Dereham, will also be riding.

Alec Lochore, director of the horse trials, said: “We have a great line-up of World, Olympic and European Gold medallists,

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It is a great thing for us and Burnham Market that these top class riders have chosen to come here for our event.

“Zara Phillips has chosen to come here for her first run with her horse Toytown since they won the World Championships last year and that is a great compliment to us and our course designers.”

“It is a world class event for a world class sport but also it is a really fun family day out.”

As well as the trials there will also be lots of other activities including terrier racing, animal displays, a food and lifestyle fair, the 7th North Norfolk Fine Arts and Antiques Fair, and a bouncy castle.

Richard Cubitt, from local metal recycling specialists Easco, which is the horse trials' main sponsor, said: “We are delighted that Easco's continued involvement with the Burnham Market Horse Trials is helping to bring world class sport to Norfolk.”

More than 750 horses will compete in the trials which first began in 1999.

This year the three day event is from Thursday, April 5 to Saturday, April 7. Gates open at 9am on all days.

Tickets cost £6 for adults, £4 for children and £18 for a family ticket that includes two adults and three children. Dogs on leads are welcome.

For more information call the event enquiry line on 08707 879986.