For the first time in its 20-year history, this year’s FEI Jumping World Cup final will take place in Italy. From 21 to 25 April, the world’s best riders and horses will compete in the arena of the Forum of Assago, on the outskirts of Milan.

The World Cup Final was first held in 1979, and is an annual showdown among the top international riders. Approximately 45 riders, including past and future Olympians, compete from around the world.

Riders qualify from 13 leagues, including the World Cup League. The top 24 riders in the World Cup rankings will go forward to the Milan finals. British hopefuls Michael Whitaker, who is currently in eighth place, and Robert Smith (27th) stand a good chance of making the finals.

To take part in the prestigious final Robert will need to improve on his current position, while Michael will have to retains his place until the end of March, when the qualifying period closes.

Jacky Knightley of the BSJA told HHO: “We are very hopeful that both Robert and Michael will make it to the Milan finals.” She stressed that a lot would depend on the riders’ performance in Paris this weekend.

The Forum of Assago is the largest indoor sports building in Northern Italy. Although it has never before hosted an equestrian event, its facilities are expected to provide a fabulous springboard for such a top horse show.

To book tickets or reserve exclusive places at the VIP tables overlooking the competition ring, call +39 06 638 3818, or e-mail: ticket@worldcupmilano2004.com