WITH the London 2012 Olympics seeing the medal-hungry British public absorbed in the eventing at Greenwich, the Fidelity Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials is raring to go.

Blenheim is due to take place from September 6 to 9.

And organisers are hoping the palace will be the perfect place to stage a celebration of British eventing in the warm glow of Olympic success.

Last year more than 60,000 people attended the trials, one of the biggest crowds since Blenheim hosted the European eventing championships in 2005. It was no surprise to see many Blenheim stars – including three-time winner William Fox-Pitt and Zara Phillips, who took the European title at Blenheim back in 2005 – in the silver medal-winning British eventing team for London 2012.

Another Blenheim winner and crowd favourite, Piggy French, had to pull out when her horse, DHI Topper, was injured.

Mandy Hervieu, event director of Blenheim since 2007, said: “We would expect many of our riders who are at the Olympics to be here, although it depends if they have horses at the right level to come.

“I would be very surprised if we did not see people like William Fox-Pitt, Mary King and maybe Zara Phillips.

“The New Zealand riders Andrew Nicholson and Mark Todd are already definites.”

Celebrated riders will use one-star events to ride young horses, making eventing one of the few sports where enthusiastic amateurs can find themselves up against top professionals, with relatively inexperienced riders mixing it with Olympic medallists.

Ms Hervieu believes the Olympics has also highlighted how eventing is one of the few sports where competitors at the top level range in age from their early 20s to mid 50s.

“No other sport in my view is so inclusive,” she said.

“One of the things the Olympics has done through all the coverage and interviews is show that it is not just a sport for rich people.

“A horse doesn’t know if it is being ridden by a princess or pauper.

“People still say Zara Phillips is a member of the royal family and has got all that money, but she still has to be good at what she does.”

Blenheim will also be about looking ahead – and Ms Hervieu believes Blenheim can also be viewed as the pathway to the next Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“It would not surprise me if some of the eight- and nine-year-old horses here will one day end up competing at Rio.”

Dressage will take place all day Thursday and Friday, with cross country from 11am to 6pm on Saturday and the show jumping finale on Sunday.

Blenheim also hosts the eight- and nine-year-old horse CIC*** British Championship, while the Riding Club and Pony Club Team Challenges and Tri-Zone BE100 Eventer Challenge will take place in the Bladon arena.

Spectators can choose between admission-only tickets and those which include allocated grandstand seats or VIP member passes which allow access to the main arena ringside members’ area. All tickets include free parking.

l The advance online box office offers significant savings over on-the-day gate prices. See blenheim-horse.co.uk for details.