I rode it last year. I have personal reasons for disliking Fair Hill, but I don't think it's a particularly hard Preliminary XC. That being said, the ground is often quite hard there, and I thought their SJ was a bit challenging. On XC, first half is pretty small, middle has some decent sized jumps, and then the end isn't huge. First four fences are galloping table/roll top type things, the corner is set on a line, so the jump in over a table sets you up. Rolltop or oxer and then jump through the quarry/downbank combination. Couple of gallop jumps, bigish ditch and wall, the bottom loop with another corner (off a turn), then up to the water which I recall as being a bit trappy and not very invitng, but not particularly technical. Over to the coffin which has terrain but is fairly inviting. Unless they've changed it up quite a bit, I don't recall that there were many combinations on it.
The Aug. course is usually the easiest course for the Fair Hill events (April is a very different story). I've always considered it a fairly straight forward Prelim and wouldn't have any issues moving a horse up at it (assuming they were well prepared). I like the flow of the land and have typically been able to get a good gallop rhythm going on their courses...but the footing at the Aug. event can be very hard as are many of the summer events. I have been there in Aug. when it rained...and the footing was perfect...but unfortunately, no way to predict if that will happen again!
I was hoping to be there this year with a Prelim horse....but they are now limping so I think we are out for a while.
** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **