TODD AND TOWNEND GO HEAD TO HEAD AT EXPRESS EVENTING QUALIFIER AT CLA GAME FAIR - 15 July 2011
New Zealand's double Olympic Gold Medalist Mark Todd and 2008 Express Eventing winner Oliver Townend are among the line-up of competitors at the Express Eventing 2011 Qualifier at the CLA Game Fair, at Blenheim Palace, on Sunday 24th July.
Todd and Townend, both past winners of the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton and Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, will be going head to head against other well known riders such as Harry Meade and Alex Hua Tian for a place in the Express Eventing 2011 Final at Horse of the Year Show on 4th October.
Developed and fine-tuned over several years, the Express Eventing Series 2011 is a spectacular, exciting and fast-moving version of eventing consisting of three arena-based disciplines: freestyle dressage to music, cross country and showjumping.
Stephen Renouard, Express Eventing Equestrian Director, said: We are absolutely delighted with the strength and depth of our athlete list at the Express Eventing Qualifier at the CLA Game Fair.
This year we opened our compact version of eventing to applications from Young and Senior qualifying riders, and we have been inundated with entries of a very high calibre. The young athletes relish the opportunity of competing with senior, experienced international riders, and the seniors love the format and the contrast it provides to traditional three-day eventing.
The athletes at the CLA Game Fair are all desperate to qualify for the Express Eventing Final at HOYS. This should make for another very exciting Express Eventing Qualifier.
International eventer Matthew Wright - the winner of both Express Eventing Qualifiers so far this year - will also be competing at the Qualifier at the CLA Game Fair, but his place in the Final (by winning a Qualifier) is already secured. He could however still take home the top prize of £3,000, which goes to the winner of the qualifier.
The fourth and final Express Eventing 2011 Qualifier is being held at The Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park on 7th and 8th August. The Express Eventing Final will be held at the Horse of the Year Show at Birmingham's LG Arena on 4th October. For further information on Express Eventing and to buy tickets for the Qualifiers and The Final, go to www.expresseventing.co.uk.
Competing Athletes at the CLA Game Fair, Blenheim Palace;
Mark Todd (NZL). Berkshire-based Todd is an eventing legend - winning this years Misubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials - 31 years after his first win there. He is also a double Olympic Gold Medalist, representing New Zealand. He competed in the inaugural 2008 Express Eventing and at the 2011 Express Eventing Qualifier at the Bolesworth Castle Showjumping Classic.
Oliver Townend (GBR). Shropshire based Townend was the winner of the inaugural Express Eventing in 2008 and came runner-up at the Express Eventing Qualifier at the Bolesworth Castle Showjumping Classic. He is a previous winner of both the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials and the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. He has also represented Great Britain.
Matthew Wright (GBR). Nottinghamshire-based Wright has won both Express Eventing Qualifiers so far this year, first at the Bolesworth Castle Showjumping Classic and the second at The Lincolnshire Show . He has represented Great Britain at the European Championships, competed at international level and has had particular success in Ireland where he was winner at Ballindenisk Horse Trials and the World Cup Qualifier.
Alex Hua Tian (CHI). Hampshire based Alex has competed in an Express Eventing competition every year so far, the only rider to have done so, and he was placed second last year. Alex was the first ever rider to represent China at the Olympic games when he competed in Beijing 2008. Alex just missed out on the Young Rider qualification at the Bolesworth Showjumping Classic qualifier.
Fiona Hobby (GBR). Wiltshire based Fiona competes at International 4**** level and was 7th in the Blenheim Horse Trials CCI*** last year. Fiona was 2nd at the Lincolnshire Show Express Eventing Series qualifier, being narrowly beaten to the top spot by Matthew Wright, but has qualified for the Final.
Fraser Duffy (GBR). Based in Ireland since 2000, Fraser has represented Great Britain on the international stage in both Dressage and Eventing as part of the Young Rider team and is now an established trainer. Fraser was 3rd at the Bolesworth Showjumping Classic Express Eventing Series qualifier, with less than a fence between him and the winner.
Angela Starr (GBR). Kent based Angela is relatively new to Eventing, but has plenty of experience as a Point to Point jockey, and also as a Showjumper.
James Hale (GBR). Nottinghamshire based James rides for Matthew Wright in his University breaks from the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester. The Express Eventing Series first timer has partnered several horses up to Intermediate level and taken part in tow JRN Championships. James has also taken part in team chasing in the previous two seasons.
Georgie Strang (GBR). Kent based Georgie has been the winner of the Urkey Newton Bursay for best Cross Country round and the Horsemanship Award for the best Showjumping round at Pony Club championships, and was also a member of South East JRN team and Regional Foundation Squad. She has competed to 4**** level, notably at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, and was 9th in the Welcome to Yorkshire Bramham Horse Trials U25 CC!***.
Harry Meade (GBR). Wiltshire based Harry completed more CCI**** events than any other rider by the age of 25. Harry, who will be having his first go at Express Eventing, sprung to fame when he partnered Midnight Dazzler, who became the most consistent 4**** horse in the world for 5 seasons, before Harry retired him. Harry has been a member of the World Class Squad for the past four years.
Jo Chipperfield (GBR). Hertfordshire based Jo has been Eventing for over 20 years, and runs her own event yard. She has ridden up to 4**** level on many occasions, and last season won the Event Horse Owners Rider Award, as well as appearing on British Eventing's Top 100 Rider list.
Rachel Lupton (GBR). North Yorkshire based Rachel has competed up to 4**** level and is regularly placed at Advanced level. She was 3rd in this year's Belton U25 Advanced, and also won the Floors Castle Horse Trials Open Intermediate. Rachel is also a member of the Regional Foundation Squad, designed to nurture future talent in the sport. This will be her first Express Eventing Series experience.
Alice Pearson (GBR). Herefordshire based Alice competed in the 2010 Express Eventing. The 2009 Best of British U25 Blenheim Horse Trials winner has competed up to 4**** level.
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