Last year Oliver had a sensational Blair, bringing seven horses all of which posted top six placings, four in the top three including a win in the Event Rider Masters CIC3* class on Cillnabradden Evo.
With European Championship duties the previous week Oliver is currently only committed to a single ride this year, Cooley Master Class in the ERM CIC3* section. As one of just two horses to finish on his dressage score at the Jardy ERM, this is a runner not to be overlooked as Oliver seeks to retain his title.
Oliver could be given a run for his money by British Team reserve Sarah Cohen and Treason; they claimed the second ERM leg of the season in Wiesbaden and are ranked second on the leaderboard. Others out to gain points in this lucrative series will be current leader Gemma Tattersall who has won two legs, most recently at Gatcombe last weekend. She will also be just back from European duties and has entered Pamero 4. Kiwi Olympians Mark Todd and Tim Price are also sure to put up a fight for the spoils.
There are good entries in the CCI2*, with Emily King and local rider Wills Oakden likely to make a strong bid for the prize money, whilst Nini French – sister of British team rider Piggy – shouldn’t be overlooked with her consistent Time For Harry.
Close to 100 combinations are entered for the CCI1*, the lowest of the three levels and the ‘starter’ level for international competition. Amongst them is Scottish rider David Gatherer – perhaps Blair’s most consistent competitor, back this year with Fugley III for what will be her first international event. David cut his three-day eventing teeth at Blair back in 1993, and says of it:
“It’s the most convenient major event for me location-wise and it also happens to be the most wonderful place to come and compete.”
It is, however, not all about eventing. Show jumping, showing, and Arena Eventing classes will feature in the programme, while Blair Castle International is particularly famous for its Highland Pony Show. Pony Club mounted games, and Country Fair demonstrations will also be added to the mix, providing a raft of entertainment for the whole family.
Blair Castle transforms into shopping heaven for the duration of the horse trials. Avenues of quality shops will be selling their wares, from bespoke jewellery and fine art to boutique clothing, traditional tartan and even gourmet dog treats. And as for food and drink… The fabulous food hall will be bursting with deliciousness; organic meat, fine wines, handmade chocolates, cheeses, the list goes on.
Full details of the various ticket and Membership packages can be found on the website.