Officials at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (England) announced Aug. 22 that Derek di Grazia will take over from Capt. Mark Phillips as course designer in 2021.
“It’s two years away, but as time goes by I’ll be able to have a better idea of what I’m going to be doing on the course in 2021,” said di Grazia, 63. “The Burghley park itself has such an amazing landscape and to be able to design there for me is going to be quite exciting.”
Di Grazia is designing the cross-country course at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and is also the current course designer for the Land Rover Kentucky CCI5*-L, the Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International (Maryland) and the MARS Equestrian Bromont CCI (Quebec).
“My wife [Bea di Grazia] competed at Burghley quite a while ago, but I’ve never competed there,” said Derek, who also competes at the advanced level. “I’ve been to the event a number of times; I’ve seen the track run in different directions, so I’m a bit familiar with it that way. Otherwise, I will start to learn more and more about the park in the next couple of years.”
Phillips, 70, will close out a 31-year tenure with the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in 2020.
“Whilst I am still enjoying every moment of work with Burghley’s fabulous team, I’m not getting any younger and want to retire while I still feel at the cutting edge and on top of my game,” Phillips said in a Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials press release.
In two weeks, Derek will visit Burghley House Gardens & Deer Park to start planning.
“I’ll be looking and trying to see how things work,” said Derek. “Basically, you start to understand the spaces and what you have to work with, so for me, it starts right away even though it’s two years away. You start to want to get an idea in your head of how this is all going to work, and obviously it’s going to take a bit of thinking. Burghley is such an iconic event. It’s been around for so long, and as they say, ‘Burghley is Burghley.’ ”