The organisers of the Australian International three-day event say the competition may not go ahead this year due to a $100,000 budget shortfall.

The event was to take place from 13-15 November.

It is the only 4* event in the Southern Hemisphere and the only one that is not part of the HSBC FEI Classics series.

Event director Gillian Rolton said: “It’s a bitter disappointment, but faced with the financial realities of 2009 we’re being forced to make an extraordinarily tough decision.

“Unless an extremely generous benefactor — or naming rights sponsor — is prepared to come forward with significant financial support, we will have no option other than cancelling this year’s event.

“We’re having to make the call now because so many of our top class and international riders depend on the Australian International three-day event as part of their qualifying and selection path for the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in 2010 and potentially the Olympics in London in 2012.

“It’s only fair we give them enough notice to make alternative qualifying arrangements.”