Insider’s guide to Burghley 2015

Our inside track to the international 4 star CCI held at Burghley Park, Lincolnshire.

Burghley 2015: The insiders’ guide

What: International 4-star (highest level) horse trials with dressage (Thurs, Fri), cross-country (Sat), showjumping (Sun), plus fantastic shopping

When: Sept 3-6 Where: The beautiful grounds of Elizabethan Burghley House, Stamford, Lincs

How much? Admission from £15 plus £12 carparking

Artists in residence: Annie Tempest will be working on site on the Tottering-by-Gently stand, gaining more inspiration for Country Life’s beloved cartoon strip; Burghley has also employed caricaturist Patrick Latham to observe the action and some of the resulting works will be competition prizes

Pop-up B & B: Accommodation is notoriously hard to find around Burghley, but this year local families are participating in an initiative to let out their spare rooms

Capability’s legacy: We’ll never know what the great landscape designer would think about his parkland features being galloped over

Difficult jumps: The Anniversary Splash (5-6) – risk of an early bath; Capability’s Cutting (9-10) – the angled corner is beastly; Trout Hatchery (20-21) – the 5 obstacles come thick and fast; Discovery Valley (28) – the Land Rover-shaped hedges always ruin someone’s day

Flying Kiwis: You won’t find two more stylish lady cross-country riders than world number 3 Jonelle Price and Caroline Powell. New Zealand riders have won 12 times in the last 25 years

Fox-Pitt factor: The most successful rider in Burghley’s 54-year history, William has won a record six times on six different horses. He’s likely to ride the speedy Fernhill Pimms

Going for the treble: Oliver Townend and Pippa Funnell will be busy: they’ve potentially got three rides apiece. Each have winning chances with spectacular, but quirky, big chestnut geldings (Armada and Redesigned) if they can keep it together in the final showjumping

Golden boys: Reigning Olympic champions Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam from Germany make their Burghley debut – a fascinating prospect. Also in the field are the Aussies’ triple Olympic team gold medalist Andrew Hoy and New Zealand’s back-to-back champion and five-time Burghley winner Sir Mark Todd. The latter two might have about 25 years on Jung, but you won’t see any finer horsemen

Little Lebowski: Everyone’s favourite cross-country horse. The Australian-bred former polo pony is like a little rubber ball in the hands of Beaufort field master Beanie Sturgis

Missing Andrew and Avebury: The brilliant pair won’t be attempting their fourth win on the trot due to Andrew Nicholson’s serious fall at Gatcombe. Andrew has been a fixture for 30 years and we’ll miss him, his trail-blazing cross-country rounds and his good jokes at press conferences

Picturesque fences: Lambert’s Sofa (2) in front of the house and the Boathouse (4) where horse and house are framed by the Lion’s Bridge

Posh picnics: Zara Phillips is judging the Land Rover Tailgate Picnic Competition on Saturday. Prizes include a dinner at Twickenham and gallons of Pol Roger

Scary fences: The yawning Cottesmore Leap (13), the maximum-dimension white oxer at the Maltings (18) and the precipitous Leaf Pit drop (25)

Star spotting: Rugby stars Jason Robinson, who is bringing the World Cup trophy to Burghley on Friday, Martin Corry and Will Greenwood can be found giving tips and signing autographs around the mini rugby pitch by the Lion Bridge

Top shops: Magic jeans and tweed coats from Cousins of Cheltenham, pretty pottery from Hogpen, seafood from Loch Fyne, handbags from Glenalmond or Nomad, gilets from Gilinix, bargains at the Oxford Shirt Company, sensible stuff from the Yorkshire Clothing Company, sporting prints from Berkeley Studios, and much, much more

Walk through history: Visit Winner’s Avenue to remember the greats of yesteryear: Anneli Drummond-Hay (1961), Richard Meade (1964), Sheila Willcox (1968), Princess Anne (1971), Lucinda Prior-Palmer (1977), Ginny Holgate (1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1989)

Walk the course: Capt Mark Phillips has reversed the direction this year. Walk it either way as the competition starts and then hunker down in front of a big screen in time for the final few as the contest comes to a climax

Watch the warm-up: Hanging around the cross-country start and finish or the main arena warm-up area is fascinating and will give a good insight into the team effort required to get a horse to this level and the emotions involved