Triumphant Todd Flies to Kentucky in Hunt for Further HSBC FEI Classics™ Points

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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.

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

My whole approach is to take advantage of all we worked on last year. There are a lot of great features to be used from last year, but I will slowly be incorporating my own ideas.

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.”

Keep in touch with the action through the FEI’s daily reports and full results on http://www.rk3de.org

Photographs: Free high-resolution photographs for editorial use only will be available at: http://www.feiphotos.org

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
2 Piggy 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

Notes to editors:

HSBC FEI Classics™ prize money
Over the next three years, HSBC will be contributing US$1 million in prize money, which represents the biggest prize fund on offer in Eventing on an annual basis.

At the end of the season, the five riders with the highest number of points collected among the five HSBC FEI Classics™ 2011 events are awarded their share of a total prize pot of US$333,000, split as follows:

1st US$150,000 (Series Champion)
2nd US$75,000
3rd US$50,000
4th US$33,000
5th US$25,000

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 http://www.fei.org)

FEI Media Contacts:
Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
Grania(dot)willis(at)fei(dot)org
+41 78 750 61 42

Malina Gueorguiev
Manager Press Relations
malina(dot)gueorguiev(at)fei(dot)org
+41 78 750 61 33

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