Organisers have pulled the plug on an innovative $1m-to-the-winner grand prix owing to lack of interest.
The inaugural edition of the Split Rock Jumping Tour’s (SRJT) “ante up” contest had been scheduled to debut on 7 April at the Pomponio Ranch in Sante Fe, California.
The new concept class had a $1.5m (£1.16m) prize pot but called for a mighty $125,000 (£96,400) entry fee.
Although the jackpot rivalled show jumping’s richest prize, the Spruce Meadows masters in Canada, it called on riders to gamble their own or their backers’ money on the odds of a big pay day.
Just 15 riders would have been allowed to enter the competition, with money only paid to third place.
Riders could invest their own funds to keep 100% of their winnings, or have their entry paid for them and claim 25% of the prize money, with 75% going to an investor.
The “high-intensity” grand prix was also scheduled to be broadcast live, which would have been a US first for the sport.
“From the start, SRJT has tried to push the envelope and try new things for the betterment of our sport,” said Derek Braun, founder and CEO of the SRJT.
The Rolex Grand Slam of Showjumping offers €1m to any rider who wins three of the associated grands prix in
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“This particular idea, something that’s never been done, just was not taking hold and we think it makes the most sense to call it off rather than hold something that will be less than what we believed it could be.
“I want to thank United States Equestrian (USEF) for believing in us and going out on a limb with this innovative concept we proposed. They are to be commended for their boldness in being open to new ideas that can help grow the sport in the US.
“We will continue to work with them to expand interest in showjumping, trying new ideas and doing everything we can to run horse shows that are in the sport’s best interest,” he added.
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