£1.1m on offer at new grand prix — with £96,000 entry fee

A new format grand prix will offer a $1.5m (£1.16m) prize pot, making it one of the richest in showjumping.

The competition will be held at Pomponio Ranch in Santa Fe, California next year and organisers believe it will introduce a “new dynamic” to the sport.

US $1m will be on offer to the winner of the “Ante Up” contest, rivalling the sport’s current biggest paycheck, the Spruce Meadows masters in Canada.

The catch is that riders, owners or sponsors must put up a $125,000 (£96,400) entry fee.

Only 15 riders will be invited to take part in the grand prix, which will form part of the Split Rock Tour.

They can decide whether to invest their own money to win 100% of the profits, or have their entry paid for them and claim 25% of the prize money, with 75% going to the investor.

“The main purpose of the Ante Up grand prix is to introduce a completely new dynamic to showjumping that currently does not exist at the highest level,” said Derek Braun, founder and CEO of the Split Rock Jumping Tour.

“Riders, owners, sponsors and spectators will each play a part in helping the sport progress to unprecedented heights. The format will allow each participant to be part of a unique, high-intensity grand prix that is sure to draw attention and raise awareness around the world.”

The competition will be the US’s first live-televised show jumping grand prix, with its winning-round format fitting neatly into a 90-minute broadcasting slot.

The first round, run against the clock, will decided the top five riders who make it through to the jump-off, which will run in reverse order of merit.

The runner-up will receive $350,000, with the third-placed rider banking $150,000.

Invited riders will be the top five US riders on the Longines FEI word rankings list, the top five foreign riders from the rankings list, five organising committee wild cards and two “onsite reserves”.

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The Split Rock Tour was established in 2015 and hosted six FEI shows at five venues in 2019. It will add the new Fort Worth CSI4*-W to its programme next year, which will be one of eight events on the Longines FEI world cup calendar for North America.

The grand prix will take place on 7 April, 2020.

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