Triumphant Todd Flies To Kentucky In Hunt For Further HSBC FEI Classics™ Points

Mark Todd (NZL) has flown to the US for this weekend’s Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event (April 28-May 1) in a bid to keep up momentum in the HSBC FEI Classics™.

Todd interrupted celebrations for his magnificent win at Badminton last weekend and within 24 hours was on a plane en route to Kentucky, where today he will trot up NZB Grass Valley, a horse that knows its way around the Kentucky Horse Park having been a key member of New Zealand’s bronze medal team at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ last year.

Both Todd and fellow traveller Mary King (GBR), third at Badminton, have said that the lure of the generous prize-money on offer in the HSBC FEI Classics™ is making them plan their CCI4* seasons carefully.

King, a member of Britain’s triumphant gold medal team last year, is making a two-pronged attack: she rides her home-bred mare Kings Temptress, seventh at Burghley last year, and the exciting prospect Fernhill Urco, a horse that had clocked up useful CCI3* results before spending most of last year on the sidelines.

Other overseas visitors in the 53-strong field are former (2006) Kentucky winner Clayton Fredericks (AUS) with the German-bred mare Be My Guest, third at Burghley last year, and William Fox-Pitt (GBR) and Oliver Townend (GBR) who have three HSBC FEI Classics™ titles between them.

Fox-Pitt, last year’s winner on Cool Mountain, this time rides the French-bred Neuf des Coeurs, winner of Blair Castle CCI3* (GBR) last year, and Townend has the nine-year-old ODT Sonas Rovatio, eighth at Boekelo.

A large home contingent is headed by three former winners: Philip Dutton with the veteran Truluck, fourth at Burghley in 2009, and new ride Fernhill Eagle, second at Fair Hill CCI3*; triple victor Kim Severson, who has Tipperary Liadhnan back at top level, and Karen O’Connor, who will ride Quintus 54.

It is expected that the Cross-Country course will have a different look and feel. Derek di Grazia (USA) has succeeded Mike Etherington-Smith as designer and says he is planning “a few surprises”. However, the 45-effort track will run in the same direction as last year’s event, following a similar route to that used at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™.

“My whole approach is to take advantage of all we worked on last year,” says di Grazia, who worked as Etherington-Smith’s assistant for three years. “There are a lot of great features to be used from last year, but I will slowly be incorporating my own ideas.”

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HSBC Training Bursary:
HSBC, the platinum partner of FEI and global sponsor of Eventing, has supported the HSBC FEI Classics™ since 2008 and is the title sponsor.

At the centre of this sponsorship is a commitment to the development of the sport of Eventing at every level.

HSBC has introduced a Training Bursary, which is a unique award presented to the highest placed rider at each HSBC FEI Classics™ leg who completes a 4* event for the very first time.

The winning rider receives a training voucher to the value of $1,000, which is spent on sessions with a trainer of the athletes’ choice approved by the FEI and National Federation.

HSBC FEI Classics™ Calendar of Events in 2011
1. 21-25 April - Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR)
2. 28 April-1 May - Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event (USA)  
3. 16-19 June - Luhmühlen presented by E.ON Avacon (GER)
4. 1-4 September - Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR)
5. 13-16 October - Les Etoiles de Pau (FRA)  

HSBC FEI Classics™ Leaderboard in 2011 (after 1 out of 5 events)
1 Mark Todd (NZL) 15 points
2Piggy French (GBR) 12 points
3 Mary King (GBR) 10 points
4 Sam Griffiths (AUS) 8 points
5 Niklas Lindback (SWE) 6 points
6 Caroline Powell (NZL) 5 points
7 Nicola Wilson (GBR) 4 points
8 Laura Collett (GBR) 3 points
9 Marina Köhncke (GER) 2 points
10 Andrew Nicholson (NZL) 1 point

The HSBC FEI Classics™ 2012 season will begin at Les Etoiles de Pau CCI 4* (FRA) on 12-16 October 2011. This is also the location for the final leg of the 2011 season. Competitors therefore have the unique opportunity to secure points for both the HSBC FEI Classics™ 2011 and 2012 seasons by competing at Les Etoiles de Pau.

1.    Les Etoiles de Pau CCI 4* (FRA) - 12-16 October 2011
2.    Australian International 3 Day Event (AUS) - 18-20 November 2011
3.    Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (USA) -  26-29 April 2012
4.    Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR) - 4-7 May 2012
5.    Luhmühlen CCI 4* presented by E.ON (GER) - 14-17 June 2012
6.    The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR) - 30 August-2 September 2012

HSBC FEI Classics™ Final Standings for 2010
1 William Fox-Pitt (GBR) 39 points - US$ 150,000 (Series champion)
2 Andreas Dibowski (GER) 37 - $75,000
3 Caroline Powell (NZL) 21 - $ 50,000
4 Mary King (GBR) 18 - $33,000
5 Paul Tapner (AUS) 15 - $25,000
(Full standings on

Photo caption: Mark Todd is warmly congratulated by the FEI President Princess Haya upon his fourth Badminton victory two days ago. (c) Kit Houghton.