Captain Mark Phillips guides us through this year’s course
Barbury Castle provides wonderful viewing for spectators and gives horses and riders the opportunity to gallop and jump on unparalleled turf and really enjoy this prestigious mid summer outing.
As such the Barbury Castle Brush (1) and the Alan King Open Ditch (2) are there to help settle the nerves and give riders a flying start to the questions to come. The TH White Table (3) is the first taste of the bigger fences and sets the standard for this level.
The Verdon Grey Wishing Wells Cricket Ball (4abc) is the first combination fence where riders will have to slow down and take a little care. The bending line to the Cricket Ball is more of a footwork exercise than difficult, and the second Wishing Well is there to stop the riders taking liberties with the Cricket Balls that were so influential at the London Olympic Games.
Place tent, The Keyflow Key Hole (5ab) is an old favourite and just needs a good positive ride as the
riders need to have the game pants on if they are not to miss the skinny Triple Brush that follows. All will enjoy jumping the Smith & Williamson Hedge (6) and the gallop down the old gallops over the Retraining of Racehorses Trakhener (7) and Moss Fallon Ditch & Brush (8).
The AGRII Bears Corners (9,10) are unchanged from last year when they were the most influential fence on the course. I suspect riders will give them a little more respect this year and prepare their horses better after the long gallop before as at this level, this should be just a regulation question.
The Luck Greayer Bloodstock Crocodile Water (11) is a simple water to water question and an excellent preparation for the St. James’s Place Hippo Water (12abc) that follows. Both waters should give the horses a happy early season water experience but riders should beware taking a liberty with the last Hippo as it is on quite an acute angle.
Fence 9, 10
The Hills Group Stonehenge (13) is another old favourite and once to the top of the hill all will enjoy the gallop over the Fuller’s Beer Wagon (14) and the Fuller’s Pub (15).
The Earthline Quarry (16abc) needs more respect. Riders have to slow down to jump the first rails to give the horses time to understand the puzzle ahead where they land on a small space before dropping down into the Quarry before swooping up the other side over the Stonewall.
Riders should also enjoy the roller coaster ride through the Earthline Sunken Road (17ab).
Gallop up over the second Bedmax Hedge (18), riders must just allow the horses to catch their breath at the top of the hill before the Saracen Feeds White Oxer (19).
There is then the most intense part of the course as riders descent down to The St. James’s Place Olympic Tower Fence (20) as they jump into the Main Arena.
It’s then up the bank to a short turn to the Log into the AGRII Arena Water (21) and a difficult turn afterwards to theOffset St James Place Arena (22,23).
Riders can then start to think of home as they leave the Arena over the second Verdon Grey Olympic Tower Hedge (24) climb back up the hill to The Properties Group White Table (25).
Fence 22, 23
The Land Rover Bridge (26ab) is something of a ‘speed bump’ to slow riders down as they come under Land Rover’s famous bridgeon their way to the Barbury Castle (27) and the finish.
Horses and riders will know they’ve had a real 3 star outing but if they finish with a smile on their faces, their fitness will have improved and they will be well set for a successful Autumn campaign.