GATCOMBE NOVICE Horse Trials celebrates its 20th Anniversary this weekend with a spring event to kick off the 2012 eventing season.

More than 500 horse and rider combinations will descend on Gatcombe Park near Minchinhampton.

With so many riders in the running for a coveted spot on the GB Olympic team, the competition is sure to be fierce.

Zara Phillips will be shaking things up on her home turf, riding no fewer than four horses.

Her mount High Kingdom is hotly tipped as a possible replacement for Zara’s top horse Toy Town, who was retired last year.

The pair recently finished 14th at Tweseldown and will be a top attraction in the Advanced Intermediate section. Zara will also ride Black Tuxedo, Lord Lauries and Silver Lining V.

Membury’s Laura Collett comes into Gatcombe in great form having won at the Lincolnshire Horse Trials last weekend on Rayef.

Laura has become a very credible Olympic candidate over the past year with a top ten finish at her first ever Badminton and a place at the European Championships last summer.

Laura beat William Fox-Pitt and Piggy French at the Lincolnshire HT and she will compete three novice horses at Gatcombe this weekend.

Riders from 16 nations will be represented including the potential Japanese Olympic team who are based at a yard in Long Newnton near Tetbury and are trained by Angela Tucker, wife of long-standing BBC commentator, Mike.

German eventer Bettina Hoy will be making a return to Gatcombe where she was once based, to compete on Designer 10, who finished no worse than sixth throughout his 2011 campaign. Bettina will also ride Lanfranco TSF who was third at the Blenheim 3* last year.

Frenchman Leonard Georens, based in nearby Crudwell, will return with Time Machine, who was eighth at the Autumn Gatcombe event last year.

The famous Antipodeans will also make an appearance, with Blyth Tait riding two and Andrew Nicholson riding five. Highworth-based Aussie Paul Tapner will take Indian Mill and Yogi Bear, while his wife Georgina will ride the home-bred Wickstead Ulara.

The Great Britain Olympic team is likely to consist of eventing stalwarts William Fox-Pitt and Mary King, as well as Nicola Wilson and Piggy French.

That leaves one place available, possibly for a wild-card entry like Zara Phillips or even Kitty King.

Kitty, from Lower Stanton St Quinton in Wiltshire, will ride three horses over the weekend and will hope to impress selectors with Persimmon, on whom she won the 6yo National Championships last year.

With continuous support from Land Rover over its 20 years, the Gatcombe event takes place on a course designed by HRH The Princess Royal and event organiser Pattie Biden.

Gatcombe Park is situated at Hampton Fields, midway between Minchinhampton and Avening. The event will be signposted from both directions. Spectator admission is £6 for a car and occupants and £4 for a programme. The event starts at 9am on both Saturday and Sunday.