The CCI4*-S Eight and Nine Year Old Championships class was introduced to SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trial's schedule in 2009 and was specifically developed for young horses aiming for the top of the sport.
It has now become part of the British Championship season as it has developed a strong reputation for offering a key step on the pathway for up and coming horses.
Pathway to success
Past winners have gone on to achieve considerable CCI5*-L success, notably 2016 runner up, Mr Nick How, Mr Keith Scott and Laura Collett's Mr Bass, who placed second at his first CCI5*-L (Luhmuhlen) in 2018 with Laura. The 2014 Champion, Mrs Trisha Rickards and Mrs Jacky Green's Faerie Dianimo, went on to win the Luhmuhlen CCI5*-L with Jonelle Price in 2018, whilst 2012's winners, Andrew Nicholson and Quimbo, won Kentucky (USA) 5* in the spring after their win at Blenheim Palace. 2010 Champion NZB Land Vision won Badminton in 2011 with Mark Todd and the 2011 title-holder William Fox-Pitt and Oslo clinched the top spot at Pau 5*.
This class sees the dressage take place first before the show jumping in the main arena, the winner is then decided after an exciting conclusion in the final cross country phase.
This course is similar to the CCI4*-L class, taking place around the spectacular grounds of the Blenheim Palace estate but takes place over a slightly shorter, less technical course than the CCI4*-L competition.
SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials also hosts one of the most popular CCI4*-L classes in the UK calendar, attracting entries from all over the world making for a truly international roll of honour; including GBR's Bella Innes Ker (2018), USA's Kimberly Severson (2017), Bettina Hoy for Germany (2016), Clark Montgomery again for the USA (2015) and GBR's Francis Whittington in 2014.