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£5,000 top prize on offer as eventing legends line up for virtual three-day event

A host of contenders including Princess Anne on Doublet and Pippa Funnell on Primmore’s Pride will be among those taking on the Mega May Eventing challenge for charity this week.

From Thursday to Sunday (6-10 May), when Badminton Horse Trials should have run, LeMieux is running its virtual “event” in aid of NHS Charities Together and British riding schools.

Entry is free although donations made so far have raised over £10,000, with a first prize of £5,000 and a host of other prizes on offer.

LeMieux director and former top eventer Robert Lemieux told H&H each entrant will be allocated one of 120 horse-rider combinations, 100 of which would have been likely to take part in this year’s CCI5*, and 20 “all-time legends” of the sport.

On the first day of dressage, Carl Hester will make a draw to allocate points between one and 60 to the first 60 combinations, while Charlotte Dujardin will do the same for the remaining competitors on Friday.

Tom McEwen will draw names to win up to 240 points for cross-country rounds on Saturday, while Scott Brash’s draw, on the final day, will result in each combination gaining up to 120 points in the showjumping phase to decide the winner.

All those who have been allocated the winning combination will go into a draw for the £5,000 top prize donated by LeMieux, with prizes and vouchers for the rest of the top 10 totalling about another £5,000.

“We were just going to give the money raised to the NHS, but I realised how hard riding schools have been hit,” Robert said. “The idea came because people were saying how much they’d miss Badminton, and people were donating to the NHS when they were ordering from us, so we thought we’d give them something to think about.

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“It’s just a really good fun sweepstake but it seems to have grabbed everyone’s attention, and the riders have been brilliant.”

Robert said he wanted to offer a “really good cash prize” to capture people’s attention, and he is delighted to have surpassed their original £10,000 fundraising target.

“It’s the riding school thing that’s really hit,” he said. “Some of my early riding was at riding schools and others say the same; and they’re under so much pressure at the moment, with so many horses and ponies to care for.”

Draws will be made on LeMieux’s social media, where running scores will also be listed. Entries close at midnight tomorrow (Wednesday) night.

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