Any rider aspiring to win the world’s toughest three-day events has an extra incentive now: a Rolex Grand Slam prize-pot of $350,000 (about £178,000).
The Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing is on offer to any rider who wins in succession the three premiere CCI**** events — America’s Rolex Kentucky, the UK’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials and Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.
The Grand Slam feat has only been achieved by Pippa Funnell, who won all three events in 2003 on two different horses.
In 2006 Andrew Hoy came close when he won Kentucky and Badminton in the spring and led going into the show jumping at Burghley, but faults there dropped him to second.
This year’s Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing prize-pot is a US$100,000 (£51,000) increase on the previous offerings.
Only William Fox-Pitt is currently “live” in the competition, having won Burghley last August. But to achieve the Grand Slam, he would have to win the Rolex Kentucky at the end of April (24-27), travel back to the UK and win at Badminton the weekend after (1-4 May).
The three events must be won in succession, but don’t have to be won on the same horse or in a calendar year.