Paul Tapner (AUS), the joint leader of the HSBC FEI Classics™ after two events, heads for Germany this weekend (June 17-20) with the prospect of extending his advantage at the series’ third leg, Luhmühlen (GER) presented by E.ON Avacon.
Tapner, who rides Kilfinnie, recent runner-up in the CIC3* at Bramham (GBR), has an exciting chance to slip ahead in the rankings, which carry a US$150,000 first prize to the most successful rider across the five CCI4* events; Kentucky winner William Fox-Pitt (GBR), with whom he shares the lead in the HSBC FEI Classics™, does not have a ride here.
However, Tapner faces pressure from two other riders handily placed in the HSBC FEI Classics™: last year’s Luhmühlen runner-up, Andreas Dibowski (GER), who is still chasing his first CCI4* victory, brings FRH Fantasia, and Mary King (GBR) rides her home-bred mare Kings Temptress, sixth here last year, and the experienced Apache Sauce, recent runner-up at Tattersalls CIC3-W (IRL).
Around 45 riders representing 10 nations (Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Netherlands, USA) are expected to trot up at today’s first Horse Inspection. Entries of note include World and Olympic team gold medallist Ingrid Klimke (GER), who returns to top-level competition after the birth of her second child, Philippa, this spring. Klimke rides her three-times team horse Butts Abraxxas in what will be an important outing for her selection chances for the FEI Alltech World Equestrian Games™ in September.
And much interest is likely to centre on last year’s HSBC FEI Classics™ winner, Oliver Townend (GBR), who brings two of his leading grey horses, Carousel Quest, whose three CCI4* placings in 2009 included winning Burghley (GBR), plus new ride Ashdale Cruise Master, a faller at Kentucky but recent winner of the Tattersalls CIC3*-W.
Course-Designer Capt Mark Phillips (GBR), who is also looking ahead to next year’s FEI European Eventing Championships at Luhmühlen, has promised a refreshed Cross-Country course. He has a new team of builders, headed by David Evans (GBR) who was responsible for the acclaimed track at the 2008 Olympic Games.“The course runs in a similar route to last year, but I’ve tried to create more flow,” says Capt Phillips. “I’ve worked with the Evans team for more than 10 years now. They are very good and experienced. Riders and spectators will see a big difference in presentation.”
HSBC FEI Classics™ Standings (after 2 of 5 events)
1 William Fox-Pitt (GBR) 15 points
2 Paul Tapner (AUS) 15
3 Phillip Dutton (USA) 12
4 Andreas Dibowski (GER) 12
5 Becky Holder (USA) 10
6 Daisy Berkeley (GBR) 10
7 Mary King (GBR) 8
8 Boyd Martin (USA) 8
9 Caroline Powell (NZL) 6
10 Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch (CAN) 6
HSBC FEI Classics™ Calendar of Events in 2010
1. 21-25 April - Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event (USA)
2. 30 April - 03 May - Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR)
3. 17-20 June - Luhmühlen presented by E.ON Avacon (GER)
4. 2-5 September - Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR)
5. 4-7 November- Les Etoiles de Pau (FRA)
Prize Money - HSBC will contribute US$ 1million to the series over the next three years. Prize-money is awarded, as follows, to the top five riders on the leaderboard after the fifth and final event:
WINNERS OF THE 2009 SEASON
1. Oliver Townend (GBR) - US$ 150,000 (Series champion);
2. Dirk Schrade (GER) - US$ 75,000;
3. Andreas Dibowski - (GER) US$ 50,000;
4. William Fox-Pitt (GBR) - US$ 33,000;
5. Sam Griffiths (AUS) - US$ 25,000
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™.
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.