British-based riders have their first chance to earn points in the valuable HSBC FEI World Cup™ Eventing series at Chatsworth (GBR) this weekend (May 15-16), and five nations are represented in the entry of 33. Paul Tapner (AUS), fresh from his thrilling Badminton success, is two-handed with Kilfinnie ll and Tiger Flynne, and is joined by fellow Australians Bill Levett with Sea Oro and Sam Griffiths, having his first major international competition this year with Happy Times, third at Badminton and Burghley last year.
The Chatsworth CIC***-W has often proved a pointer to future international success, and Clayton Fredericks (AUS), who won this class in 2006 on Ben Along Time, is riding his smart new acquisition Bendigo lll, a German-bred horse proven in Grand Prix Dressage and Jumping which has been taking the national season by storm.
Fredericks’ wife and fellow Olympic silver medalist Lucinda (AUS) will be bringing out the crowd favourite Headley Britannia, the only mare to have won three 4-stars: Burghley (2006), Badminton (2007) and Kentucky (2009).
The other former Chatsworth winners in the field are Britain’s Mary King (in 2007 on her European silver medal ride Call Again Cavalier), who rides the exciting prospect Fernhill Urco, and Pippa Funnell who took the main class in 2000 on Supreme Rock and in 2004 on Primmore’s Pride. She brings Blue Horizon and the up-and-coming Redesigned, which she hopes will be her next major 4-star horse.
One rider overdue a victory here is Andrew Nicholson (NZL), whose best placing was a second on Fenicio in 2004. He rides that horse’s Spanish-bred full-brother, Armada, a great galloper and jumper which is expected to make light of Chatsworth’s undulating course and imposing, well-built fences.
The event, set in the Duke of Devonshire’s spectacular Chatsworth estate, has a new organiser, Tissie Reason, and a new Cross-Country course-designer, the five-time Olympian Ian Stark (GBR) who has taken over the international track from Mike Etherington-Smith (GBR).
Stark promises excellent grass cover on the course and several new fences – some of which were designed for last year when the event had to be cancelled due to heavy rain. “The sunken road has been revamped and is, I think, appropriately tough,” he said.
“The Ice Pond has two new carved birds in the water, there’s a new double of brush corners and a new combination on the flat ground by the car park. I think it’s going to be quite a bit different to before and, perhaps, a little more difficult.”
Follow the event on www.bdwp.co.uk/cha
Calendar of Events
1. Tallahassee (USA), 5-7 March 2
2. Kihikihi (NZL), 2-4 April
3. Sydney (AUS), 7-9 May
4. Marbach (GER), 7-9 May
5. Chatsworth (GBR), 15-16 May
6. Tattersalls (IRL), 27-30 May
7. Strzegom (POL), 24-27 June
8. Minsk (BLR), 21-25 July
9. Rebecca Farm, Kalispell (USA), 22-25 July
10. Malmö (SWE), 13-15 August
11. Haras du Pin (FRA), 18-22 August
12. Schenefeld (GER), 26-29 August
Standings (after 4 of 12 events)
1 Megan Jones (AUS) 138 points
2 Clarke Johnston (NZL) 128
3 Sonja Johnson (AUS) 119
4 = Mara Dean (USA) 71
4 = Chris Burton (AUS) 71
4 = Michael Jung (GER) 71
7 = Phillip Dutton (USA) 67
7 = Heelan Tompkins (NZL) 67
7 = Kai-Steffen Meier (GER) 67
10 Jenna Mahoney (NZL) 65
HSBC, the world's local bank, is a platinum partner of FEI and global sponsor of the eventing discipline.
As part of this partnership, HSBC is title sponsor of the HSBC FEI Classics and HSBC FEI World Cup™ Eventing.
At the centre of all HSBC’s sponsorships is a commitment to youth, education and community. The Pony Club and HSBC have teamed up to create the HSBC Pony Club Eventing Training Programme.