INTERNATIONAL EVENTING SUPERSTARS LINE UP FOR EXPRESS EVENTING 2011 FINAL AT HORSE OF THE YEAR SHOW - 23 August 2011
Former Badminton and Burghley winner Oliver Townend, winner of three Express Eventing 2011 Qualifiers Matthew Wright and Chinese Olympian Alex Hua Tian will be among the line-up of 15 international athletes competing at the Express Eventing 2011 Final at Horse of the Year Show at Birmingham’s LG Arena on 4th October.
These international eventers - and the other 11 best performing Young and Senior riders from the Express Eventing Qualifiers held around the country this summer plus 2010 Express Eventing winner Flora Harris – will be battling it out for the lion’s share of the £40,000 Express Eventing Final 2011 prize pot. The Express Eventing 2011 winner at Horse of the Year Show will be £12,500 the richer.
Developed and fine-tuned over several years, the Express Eventing Series 2011 is a spectacular, exciting and fast moving version of eventing, which has been integrated within five prestigious and established shows throughout the country this year. Following the format of the Qualifiers at the Bolesworth Castle Showjumping Classic, The Lincolnshire Show, The CLA Game Fair and the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park, the 2011 Final will consist of three arena-based disciplines: freestyle ‘dressage to music’, cross country and showjumping.
Stephen Renouard, Express Eventing Equestrian Director, said: “The Express Eventing Qualifiers have been a tremendous success – with an approximate total of 250,000 spectators at the various events witnessing some of the biggest names in eventing fight it out, right down to the last pole, for a place in the 2011 Final at Horse of the Year Show.
“The 2011 Final line-up exemplifies the calibre of athletes who have competed around the country, but what is equally pleasing is their palpable enthusiasm for the Twenty20 of eventing. The Senior athletes really enjoy this thrill-a-minute form of eventing and the Young riders relish the opportunity of competing on a level playing field with some of the best names in the sport.
“With the Express Eventing Final a little over a month away, our 15 Finalists are now focusing on the big prize and training at the very highest level. We have all the ingredients in place for a very intense and exciting Final.”
The highest placed Young athlete and Senior athlete at each Express Eventing Qualifier, together with the three Young and the three Senior riders achieving the highest overall competition score across all the Qualifiers plus last year’s Express Eventing winner, have gained a place at the Express Eventing 2011 Final.
The qualifying athletes for the Express Eventing 2011 Final are as follows:
-Matthew Wright (GBR). Nottinghamshire-based Matthew has represented Great Britain at the European Championships. He has competed at International level, and has had particular success in Ireland where he was winner at Ballindenisk Horse Trials and the World Cup Qualifier. Matthew competed in all four Express Eventing 2011 Qualifiers and won the first three (at the Bolesworth Castle Showjumping Classic, The Lincolnshire Show and The CLA Game Fair).
-Oliver Townend (GBR). Shropshire-based Townend was the winner of the inaugural Express Eventing in 2008 and was runner-up at the Express Eventing Qualifiers at the Bolesworth Castle Showjumping Classic and at the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park. 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.
-Harry Meade (GBR). Wiltshire-based Harry completed more CCI**** events than any other rider by the age of 25. Harry 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. He has been a member of the World Class Squad for the past four years. Harry was placed 3rd at the Express Eventing Qualifier at The CLA Game Fair at Blenheim.
-Fiona Hobby (GBR). Wiltshire-based Fiona competes at International 4**** level and was 7th in the Blenheim Horse Trials CCI*** last year. She was placed 2nd at the Express Eventing Qualifier at The Lincolnshire Show.
-Sam Griffiths (AUS). Dorset-based Sam is originally from Australia. He has recently had some very successful seasons, being placed 3rd at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials in 2009, and placed 4th this year. Sam won the Express Eventing Series 2011 Qualifier at The Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park with the best dressage score of the whole Series – and, as such, was the first rider to beat Matthew Wright at an Express Eventing Qualifier this year.
-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 Qualifier, with less than a fence between him and the winner, and he also competed in the Express Eventing Qualifier at the CLA Game Fair.
-Jo Chipperfield (GBR). Hertforshire-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. She competed in the Express Eventing Qualifiers at the Lincolnshire Show and the CLA Game Fair.
-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. He was runner-up at the Express Eventing Championship 2010. Alex was the first ever rider to represent China at the Olympic Games when he competed in Beijing 2008. He just missed out on the Young Rider qualification at the Bolesworth Showjumping Classic qualifier, but took it at the CLA Game Fair where he was placed 2nd.
-Paul Sims (GBR). Cheshire-based Paul has competed at international level both at home and abroad, and was the placed 2nd at last year’s Intermediate Championship at Gatcombe Park. Paul was placed 5th at the Bolesworth Castle Showjumping Classic qualifier, and was the top placed Young Rider.
-Will Murray (GBR). Newcastle-based Will has previously competed at Horse of the Year Show with Working Hunter Ponies, before making the switch to eventing. He now events to Advanced level. Will was placed 5th at the Lincolnshore Show qualifier, and was the top placed Young Rider.
-Sienna Myson-Davies (GBR). Surrey-based Sienna was double Junior Gold Medallist at the European Championships in 2008, and won the Junior Final Trial in 2009. She has taken a break from the sport since 2009 owing to horse injury, but is now back on form proving this by being the highest placed Young Rider at the Express Eventing Qualifier at The Festival of British Eventing.
-Flora Harris (GBR). Oxfordshire-based Flora is a former Team GBR Young Rider, and was the winner of the Express Eventing Championhip in 2010 at the Royal Festival of the Horse. This gives her automatic qualification to the 2011 Express Eventing Final.
-Shari Butchart (GBR). Essex-based Shari is a former Grade A show jumper and has previously competed at Horse of the Year Show. She also represented Great Britain in that discipline on both the Junior and Young Rider teams. This is her third season of eventing after making the switch. She competed in the Express Eventing Qualifiers at the Bolesworth Castle Showjumping Classic, the Lincolnshire Show and the Festival of British Eventing.
-Georgie Spence (GBR). Wiltshire-based Georgie has had consistent good results at 4**** International level, with clears at Badminton, Burghley and Pau for the last 4 years. She has ridden for her country, taking Junior Team Silver in 2006, and Young Rider Team Gold in 2008 and 2009. Georgie competed in last year’s Express Eventing Championship achieving a 5th placing and took part in the Festival of British Eventing Express Eventing Qualifier this year.
-Jess Butler (GBR). Rutland-based Jess progressed through ponies with success in show jumping and eventing before moving on to horses at 13 years old. Since her A-levels she has been fortunate enough to follow in the footsteps of riders such as Jeanette Brakewell and Sarah Cohen and to ride and train with the Lawrence David Event Team and has now set up her own yard. Jess competed in the Express Eventing Series 2011 Qualifiers at the Bolesworth Castle Showjumping Classic and The Festival of British Eventing.
For more information on Express Eventing, including the opportunity to buy tickets for the Express Eventing 2011 Final at Horse of the Year Show, go to: www.expresseventing.co.uk.
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