Mary King (GBR), who recently claimed 150,000 USD after becoming this year’s HSBC FEI Classics™ champion, is celebrating yet again after clinching a 50,000 USD bonus as the HSBC Rankings leader at the end of the 2011 season.
King, who celebrated her 50th birthday in June of this year, will be presented with her prize at the British Equestrian Writers’ Association annual awards lunch on 15 December at the London International Horse Show in Olympia (GBR).
This is the first time King has finished the season at the top of the rankings since being declared world number one at the end of 1991. First and second place finishes in the HSBC FEI Classics™ in Kentucky (USA), third at both Badminton and Burghley (GBR), fourth at Pau (FRA) and eighth at Luhmühlen (GER) gave King a season-end tally of 601 points. This put her at the top of the HSBC Rankings with a 15-point lead over William Fox-Pitt (GBR), who finished the season in second place, 73 points ahead of Andrew Nicholson (NZL).
Fox-Pitt, winner of the HSBC FEI Classics™ last year, looked set to secure the HSBC Rankings bonus this season after taking over the world number one spot at the beginning of September. However, the HSBC Rankings are run on a rolling 12-month basis and not a calendar year, with the best six results for that 12-month period taken into account. As the latest rankings list is based on results obtained between 1 December 2010 and 30 November 2011, Fox-Pitt’s second-place finish at Pau in November 2010 have been dropped from his tally, reducing his points total to 586.
“It’s really wonderful to be the first winner of this bonus from HSBC for finishing at the top of the rankings”, said Mary King, “and adding that to my win in the HSBC FEI Classics is a great early Christmas present! Of course my top horses will be aimed at the Olympics next year, but I’m lucky enough to have plenty of horsepower, so I’ll be able to compete in the HSBC FEI Classics series as well. It’s going to be an exciting year!”
Giles Morgan, HSBC Group Head of Sponsorship, said: “The HSBC Rankings have been incredibly hard-fought this season with riders putting in outstanding performances, much to the excitement of Eventing fans around the world.
“It was neck and neck between Mary King and William Fox-Pitt this season, with both of them putting in really impressive performances, demonstrating the strategic, physical and mental abilities necessary to compete in Eventing at this level. But it was Mary who eventually came out on top and we are delighted to be able to acknowledge and reward her incredible achievement as leader of the HSBC Rankings.”
The HSBC Rankings were launched in 2009 and in July this year HSBC announced a new initiative to reward the leading rider at the end of the season with the 50,000 USD bonus. This followed HSBC’s decision to renew its support of FEI Eventing for a further three-year term to include title sponsorships of HSBC FEI Classics™ until the end of 2013 and the HSBC FEI European Eventing Championships in 2011 and 2013.
Photo caption: Mary King (GBR), who débuted the HSBC Rankings armband in July, now secures 50,000 USD bonus as rankings leader at the end of the 2011 season. Photo: Barry Gomer.