Dual sportswoman Liz Halliday is ready to make her debut at the prestigious Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials after solid pre-runs for her horses Oscar (Arctic Knight II) and Fox (Red Letter Day II) at Gatcombe Park last weekend.
Halliday has secured entries for both horses at Blenheim, recognised as the UK’s top three-star event, and will be competing against a host of the eventing world’s biggest stars including world champion Zara Phillips and Britain’s Hong Kong 2008 medalists William Fox Pitt and Mary King. A whole host of other Olympians will also be in action including her trainer, Joe Meyer, who rode for New Zealand in the recent games.
The event marks Liz’s return to CCI*** competition for the first time since 2005 when she contested the Boekelo Horse Trials in Holland with Fox. It will also see the rapidly improving Oscar make his debut at this level.
Halliday warmed up for the event with a one-day competition at Gatcombe Park and enjoyed solid results with both Oscar and Fox. Both horses produced strong dressage tests and while they each had rails down in the show jumping, they jumped clear in cross country in heavy conditions to finish 10th and 20th respectively.
“I used the event as a pre-run and was happy with the way they came through it,” said Halliday. “Both were a little excitable during the show jumping, but they have been jumping well all season so that isn’t really a concern for me. In fact, after his wild show jumping, I gave Fox some Nupafeed Calmer before the cross country and he really settled down and re-focused and did a great job, which is very encouraging. They are both fit and ready and I don’t think they could be any better prepared for Blenheim.”
Liz also revealed her own excitement at making her Blenheim Palace debut and returning to CCI*** competition at an event which regularly attracts over 50,000 spectators. “I’ve wanted to compete at Blenheim ever since I first moved to the UK and I’m delighted to now have the opportunity with two of my horses. The competition will be very stiff but we’ve had a good season so far and I can’t wait for the event to start.”
As well as preparing for her biggest 3 Day Event of the year, Halliday is also looking forward to her return to the States in the coming months where she will drive in the American Le Mans Series races at Petit Le Mans and Laguna Seca. “It’s a very exciting time,” she admitted. “I’ve worked hard all year and hopefully I’ll now reap the rewards for all that effort.”
The Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials begin on 11-14 September and more details and ticket information can be found at www.blenheim-horse.co.uk.
For more details on Liz Halliday or to download hi-res images for use in editorial, please visit www.lizhalliday.com.