“The Most Beautiful Boekelo”: Take a Walk Around Adrian Ditcham’s Course

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Boekelo has historically had a reputation for being one of the ‘softer’ CCI4*-L options, purely because its very flat terrain and dimensionally smaller fences don’t herald comparison to the likes of Bramham. But to underestimate Adrian Ditcham’s challenge today would be remiss: one of the things that makes Boekelo such a showpiece event is its extraordinary atmosphere, and the twisty track runs through a course-wide complex of bars, party spots, restaurants, grandstands, and very nearly nightclubs, all of which are right up against the ropes and give inexperienced horses plenty to distract their focus. It’s an exceptional educational experience for the championship horses of the future but, as Tim Price explains, “it’s a bit of a jumpers’ course — there are some things that aren’t particularly big, so your proper five-star horses might end up going a bit like the proper five-star horses did at Pratoni.” For his young horse, Happy Boy, who sits equal fourth going into cross-country, it’s perfect: “there’s lots of ground lines and obvious profiles, and he’s an honest horse, so if I give him a good placement everywhere, it should be alright.”

Newly crowned World Champion Yasmin Ingham returns for the first time since 2019, again riding her stalwart Rehy DJ — and this time, she’s one of many riders who reckons the course has been beefed up in its intensity and technical challenge.

“It looks hard enough,” she laughs. “There’s lots of skinnies, but when you think about the course, you also have to think about the atmosphere and the audience that’s there clapping and cheering. Rehy DJ has experience with atmosphere now, so he shouldn’t be too bothered about that side of things, but it’ll take some riding. I was watching the videos back from 2017, and I personally think it’s come on a lot in difficulty from that, and from 2019. I’m looking forward to getting out there!”


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Reigning Dutch National Champion Tim Lips, who’s currently at the forefront of the race to regain his title, praised the course as the best he’s seen in his long tenure competing here.

“For me, it’s absolutely the most beautiful I’ve seen here,” he says.

The course will run to an optimum time of 10:10 over a 5789m track, with Dutchman Thierry van Reine taking pathfinder duties at 10.45 local time (9.45 a.m. BST/4.45 a.m. EST) with ACSI Harry Belafonte. You can watch along here — and tune into EN for all the updates and reports you’ll need!


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