A world record £50,000 prize for CIC (international one-day) competition could be awarded in Britain if the new Eventing Masters series takes off in 2016.
Promoters are keeping TV coverage and sponsorship details under wraps, but rules for the series — to be integrated with six existing British CIC3*s — were recently circulated on the FEI’s stakeholder portal.
A points system qualifies riders for the final, with 66% of results (that is, four events in 2016) to count.
Minimum prize funds of £25,000 are mooted for qualifiers and a £50,000 prize in-kind, such as a car, for the winner of the Blenheim final (8-11 September), with £15,000 to the runner-up.
Each class will admit 40 starters, based on world rankings, plus up to two wild cards for past Olympic gold medallists, four-star winners and riders from emerging nations.
The Masters has been developed for TV by Di Brunsden, joint-owner of Mark Todd’s four-star ride Leonidas II, and William Fox-Pitt’s wife Alice.
Mrs Brunsden feels eventing needs a new marketing approach, and a habit-forming, regular TV slot.
“The format doesn’t need messing with,” she said. “We are not seeing the asset right under our noses. There is no reason why eventing shouldn’t be earning more money.
“In some places, there is just a lack of modern thinking. People would love to watch it in Brazil and China; it’s all about how it’s packaged.”
Promoters hope to expand abroad after 2016. The Masters final is potentially more valuable than the showcase Aachen CIC3* €31,000 (£22,000) first prize, but German team trainer Chris Bartle thought elite riders like Michael Jung and Sandra Auffarth were unlikely to participate in the launch year, because travel costs to Britain remain a disincentive.
Qualifiers are Chatsworth (14-15 May), Bramham (9-12 June), Barbury (7-10 July), Gatcombe Park (5-7 August) and Blair (25-28 August).