A new version of British Eventing’s Premier League kicks off at Badminton this weekend, promising £20,000 to the winning rider at the end of the season, thanks to a sponsorship deal with fund management company Invesco Perpetual.

The league was originally set up in 2005, with the idea of linking the nine top British events with a rider points accumulator with by a prize fund of £10,000. But in February, BE said it would not run in 2007 due to a “lack of interest” from sponsors and the public (news, 15 February).

“Invesco Perpetual approached us — they are completely new to eventing, having sponsored cricket, rugby and football up until now — and were keen to run the accumulator series,” BE spokesman Winnie Murphy told H&H: “We’ve taken the rider points accumulator aspect of the league, but the idea of linking events and sharing marketing and databases is still ‘on the shelf’.”

The all-new Invesco Perpetual Premier League will begin again at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, take in eight other top events (see list below) and the rider accumulating the most points at the end of the season will win the Invesco Perpetual Trophy and a cheque for £20,000. The second- and third-placed riders will receive £10,000 and £5,000 respectively.

The events involved have also benefited from a cash injection from the fund management company, which has signed a two-year deal with an option to extend should the league prove successful.

Event rider Andrew Nicholson told H&H the return of the premier league was “a very good thing”.

“To have decent prize money, you hope to have a good result here and then start planning the rest of the year around it,” he said. “It will give me even more incentive to want to win at Badminton!”

Events in the Invesco Perpetual Premier League

  • Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (3-6 May)
  • Chatsworth Nissan Horse Trials (12-13 May)
  • Bramham International Horse Trials (7-10 June)
  • Barbury Castle Horse Trials (6-8 July)
  • The Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe (3-5 August)
  • Thirlestane Castle International Horse Trials (17-19 August)
  • Blair Castle International Horse Trials (23-26 August)
  • The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (30 August-2 September)
  • Blenheim International Horse Trials (6-9 September)