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Zara Tindall and Ingrid Klimke among stars to vie for virtual eventing ‘champion of champions’ title

Zara Tindall on Toytown and Ingrid Klimke on SAP Hale Bob OLD are among the eventing legends going head to head in a battle to crown the “champion of champions”.

The organisers of CHIO Aachen, which should have run this month but was cancelled owing to the coronavirus pandemic, are working with equestrian data company EquiRatings and SAP predictive analytics on the virtual event, which will feature “perhaps the best field ever seen”.

The simulated competition, to run on 7 and 8 August, will involve 20 combinations who finished in the top five at CHIO Aachen in previous years, along with wildcard entries from the top 10s, chosen by a public vote.

“Have you ever wondered what would happen if the champions of the past took on the champions of today at one of the most iconic venues in eventing?” a spokesman for organisers said.

“Think 2006 Aachen world champions Zara Tindall and Toytown lining up against 2019 European and Aachen champions Ingrid Klimke and SAP Hale Bob. The use of the latest SAP predictive analytics software makes this kind of simulation possible and helps to forecast the results of this legendary field of riders.”

Data will be used from each combination’s form at the time of their Aachen finish for the simulated competition to determine what might have happened had the titans met in direct competition.

In live shows, a commentary team will deliver and react to the computer-generated marks. Fans can also be part of the action, by taking part in the fantasy football-style Eventing Manager game; picking a team of four combinations, within a set budget, and competing globally and within individual leagues.

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The event is part of a six-day virtual CHIO Aachen, which also features dressage and showjumping challenges involving international top riders, a mobile phone game and Germany v The Netherlands four-in-hand driving. Highlights of previous competitions will also be shown, “enriched with current comments by athletes, background information, fun facts and a lot of material that has not been published before”.

“Of course, we would have all preferred a live event at our traditional showgrounds,” said Aachen’s Carl Meulenbergh. “But I am convinced that we will be able to bring a great deal of the legendary CHIO Aachen atmosphere to people’s homes with this digital event.”

More detail about the event will be revealed on the CHIO Aachen website.

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