Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Aussie challenge for the 2011 FEI Eventing World Cup title

Australian Christopher Burton will join riders from 12 countries on 47 horses in France this weekend to contest the final leg of the FEI Eventing World Cup series at the Haras du Pin national stud farm in Normandy.

29-year-old Burton is currently in second place on the FEI World Cup leader-board behind Clarke Johnstone of New Zealand. Burton will start two horses this weekend in his bid to claim the 2011 FEI World Cup Eventing title,  his 2010 World Equestrian Games mount Holstein Park Leilani and  Newsprint, a winner of the 2008 Adelaide CCI4* and runner-up in 2010.

“I am grateful to the owners of the horses, Jean and Jade Findlay and Lou Verway for the opportunity to have these horses in Europe and for the chance to challenge for the World Cup title,” said Burton.

“I will be trying to win it. Both these horse are capable of very good performances, Barry [Newsprint] had a god run at Gatcombe and Leilani is going well so fingers crossed I will be in with a good chance.”

Points gained at each qualifier count towards a prize pot awarded to the best riders at the end of the series. After eight CIC-W3* events in eight countries across three continents, the three most successful riders will share a valuable prize fund worth € 32'000.

In 2010 Australia’s Megan Jones finished second overall out of 133 riders from 25 nations.

In June, Burton relocated from Sydney to the United Kingdom to campaign for next year’s Olympic Games. He took a strong team of horses with him and is already achieving some impressive results in the Northern Hemisphere. Earlier this month Burton placed fifth at the British Open Championship at Gatcombe riding Newsprint.

Johnstone and Burton have gone head-to-head twice in the FEI World Cup series so far this year, at Kihikihi (NZL) and Sydney (AUS).  Johnstone has won both classes aboard his talented New Zealand Thoroughbred Orient Express whilst Burton finished a close second on both occasions riding Holstein Park Leilani. Johnstone will be competing on Orient Express this weekend.

Johnstone currently sits on 118 points on the FEI World Cup leader-board, Burton on 108 and in third place is Aliaksandr Faminou of Belarus, who will not be competing this weekend.

Australia will also be represented in the CIC3*-W at Haras du Pin by world class competitors Clayton Fredericks (2005 and 2008 FEI World Cup winner and Olympic Silver medallist), Sam Griffiths (2010 World Equestrian Games representative) and Paul Tapner (2010 Badminton winner and 2010 World Equestrian Games representative).

The CIC3*-W start list includes some of the best riders from around the globe. The living legend Mark Todd (NZL), 2011 Badminton winner and dual gold medallist, will return to ‘Le Pin’.  Last year’s Le Pin winner, Emily Baldwin (GBR) is back to defend her title.

The Haras du Pin national stud-farm will welcome a record 266 horses from 14 nations participating in three international classes over the weekend. Riders from Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Czech Republic, France, Great-Britain, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Republic of South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, and USA are taking part.

For all 2011 Haras du Pin results stay tuned to http://www.legrandcomplet.com/english/start-lists-results/

For more information regarding the FEI World Cup Eventing including the point allocation system, series rules and leader boards please see the FEI web site,  http://www.feiworldcup.org/Eventing/Pages/FEIWorldCupEvents.aspx

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