The international horse trials calendar has been dealt a severe blow with the news that Blarney Castle and the Mitsubishi Adelaide three-day events have been cancelled.

Sir Richard Colthurst, who was the force behind Blarney Castle CCI**/* for the past 10 years, died on 22 March following an illness,but his daughter Georgina was planning to run the event in her father’s memory on 29 May-1 June.

However, Richard’s heir Charles Colthurst issued a press release on 1 April stating the event will not take place this year, but welcomed any proposals to raise funding for the event in 2004.

Georgina is described as “devastated” that the event is not going ahead this year and said she would not consider running the event next year so the future of this popular event looks uncertain at best.

The loss of this fixture, combined with no spring run at Punchestown, leaves a gaping hole in the international calendar for Irish riders in the run up to the European Championships in September.

No funding for Adelaide

On the other side of the globe, the future of the Misubishi Adelaide three-day event in Australia is in question.

The only four-star event in the southern hemisphere, Adelaide is held in Adelaide’s East Parklands and has previously been supported by Adelaide City Council but governing body Australian Major Events (AME) has decided to withdraw its funding.

The event’s organising committee, Gawler Three Day Event Inc, is meeting with the AME to discuss ways the event can be saved.

Mike Etherington-Smith, who designed the course in 2002, says: “This news is hugely disappointing for the sport. The Equestrian Federation of Australia is making every effort to keep the event on the road and, although it seems unlikely they will be able to do anything at such short notice, they are working very hard to find an alternative venue.”

British-based Australian Matt Ryan, who attends the event every year, says: “I’m devastated. Adelaide has become the premier international three-day event in Australia and it’s a real shame for Australian sport. It has a fantastic atmosphere and it is a spectacular competition.”