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Pathway to Paris begins at Thoresby Park
March 13, 2024

Just shy of 700 horses and riders will venture to Nottinghamshire at the end of the month to tackle BEDE Events’ Eventing Spring Carnival, at Thoresby Park (March 29-31), the first international event of the British season – and an enormously important fixture ahead of this summer’s Olympic Games.

126 of those entries will tackle the CCI4*-S competition, the pinnacle of the Carnival’s offerings, which range from national classes at Novice to Advanced, to FEI classes starting at CCI2*-S. Once again, this incredibly well-subscribed class will be split into two sections: the Lycetts Grantham Cup feature class, and a second CCI4*-S offering for horses with fewer amassed FEI points, allowing fair and exciting competition and an educational experience for the stars of the future.

Thoresby’s Grantham Cup has historically acted as a crucial feeder and preparation run for May’s MARS Badminton Horse Trials, and this year is no different: though the nation’s best will certainly hope to make an early mark on selectors as they vie for one of the three spots on this summer’s Olympic team.  Many riders will be hoping to throw down the gauntlet after a long winter of intensive training and put themselves forward as high hopes for the world’s most coveted CCI5* title later in the spring.

Chief among those? Last year’s Badminton champions and reigning European Champions, Ros Canter and Lordships Graffalo, who return to Thoresby with Paris firmly in their sites. They might look an obvious favourite for the win, but don’t count those Easter eggs before they hatch: they’re joined in the top-class entries line-up by the likes of three-time five-star winners (and Tokyo team gold medallists!) Laura Collett and London 52, as well as reigning World Champions Yasmin Ingham and Banzai du Loir, and last year’s Grantham Cup winners, Emily King and Valmy Biats, among the big names lining up to bat.

We’ll also be treated to early bids for Olympic glory from some of the best of the rest of the world, including Maryland 5* victors Austin O’Connor and Colorado Blue of Ireland, the main stage debut of Japanese Olympian Yoshiaki Oiwa and his new ride, Pippa Funnell’s 2019 Burghley winner MGH Grafton Street, Italy’s Daniele Bizzarro and his longtime partner Stormhill Riot, and South Africa’s Alex Munn and The Spice Merchant.

But it’s not just reigning champions, Olympic glory-hunters, and heavy hitters who’ll be putting their names on the leader board – Thoresby’s array of international classes is a great place to discover the horses and riders who’ll soon become household names. They’ll all be put to the test over fair but challenging tracks designed by BEDE Director Stuart Buntine and Captain Mark Phillips, all created to suit the early-season aim of providing an education and a pipe-opener as horses and riders alike dive into the new season.

To join them as they tackle their first international outing of the season, head to thoresby-horse.co.uk to get your tickets, starting at just £10 per person, or £15 for a family ticket bundle on Easter Sunday, that includes two adults, parking and two Easter Egg hunt tickets.

Making the most of the Easter weekend, the event also offers The Great Thoresby Easter Egg Hunt, at just £2 per entry with chocolate guaranteed, plus there’s exclusive showjuming and cross-country course walks with the stars of the show, raising money for the Riders Minds charity.

Further information can be found via www.thoresby-horse.co.uk