British event riders have two opportunities to qualify for the 2004 FEI Eventing World Cup without leaving home this year, courtesy of Chatsworth (15-16 May) and Lulworth (30 July-1 August). The US$80,000 final will take place once again at Pau, France in October.
A top-class field of horses and riders is expected for the Chatsworth qualifier, which carries a first prize of £4,000. Chatsworth will also be an Olympic trial for some British and overseas riders, including the Irish team.
Lord Hartington, president of the Chatsworth Horse Trials, says: “We’re delighted that Chatsworth has been recognised as an important event in the international calendar with the World Cup qualifier.
“The event has always seemed popular with the leading riders and, with the Olympics in sight, we look forward to added interest with some of the selected horses and riders competing here.”
British-based riders will have a second opportunity to qualifier for the series, without the expense of travelling overseas, at Lulworth at the end of July.
William Weld, organiser of the Lulworth Horse Trials, told HHO: “Last year’s qualifier was very successful with Leslie Law heading a strong international field to win. Lulworth has been holding CICs for many years and the event seems popular with riders from France and Ireland, as well as Britain, so we expect another top class field this year.”
The FEI has modified the rules for this season’s World Cup “to encourage the participation of the world’s best riders and make the sport more accessible and exciting for the general public”.
Points range from 100 for a win to 1 for an unplaced completion and will be allocated to the rider, rather than the horse and rider combination as last year. The best three results for each rider will be counted towards the final standings, with a maximum number of riders from each country eligible for the final.
For more information about the Eventing World Cup, visit the FEI website: www.horsesport.org