05 May 2011

Sydney's Weekend of World Cups starts today!

From Friday 6 May to Sunday 8 May the Sydney International Equestrian Centre, where Australia won Gold at the 2000 Olympic Games, comes alive again with the best Eventing and Show Jumping riders and horses in the country. Nearly 600 horses will converge on the venue for Sydney's Weekend of World Cups. 30 high profile athletes will compete in the Equestrian NSW FEI World Cup Eventing qualifier and 25 in the Jumping NSW Greater Sydney FEI World Cup Jumping qualifier. This weekend's event is of vital importance to Australian riders as they prepare for the London 2012 Olympic Games. The eyes of Australian selectors will be watching the outcome intently.

The Eventing World Cup line up includes the 2010 winner, Christopher Burton who is originally from Queensland, back to defend his title on the lovely mare Holstein Park Leilani owned by Jean and Jade Findlay. Burton has two other rides in the class and is hopeful of another hat‐trick similar to his efforts at Albury CIC in 2010, where he won all three international classes. After this weekend's event Chris' horses will enter quarantine ahead of a journey to England where Chris will continue his preparation towards the London 2012 Olympic Games, aiming for selection on the Australian team.

The 2009 Sydney World Cup winner, Olympic Silver Medallist Megan Jones from Stirling in South Australia is also returning for another crack at the impressive $12,000 prize money on offer. Sydney Gold medallist Stuart Tinney from Maraylya in NSW has two rides in the class and is keen to re-live the triumph from 2000. Beijing Silver Medallist Shane Rose from Werombi in NSW, the fastest man in the world on the cross-country at the 2008 Games, has two rides in this year's event and will be hard to match for time around Sydney's Olympic cross country track. Multi‐discipline Australian representative Heath Ryan from Heatherbrae in NSW is determined to show the younger riders he still has what it takes to make the time. New Zealand 2010 World Equestrian Games Team Bronze medallist Clarke Johnstone from Hamilton in New Zealand recently won the New Zealand World Cup qualifier and will be doing everything he can to take the Aussie title back across the Tasman. A further 18 elite riders make up the Eventing World Cup class all eager to prove they can master the three phases of dressage, cross-country and show jumping to claim the victory in the 2011 Sydney World Cup Qualifier.

Following today’s Dressage phase, is the exciting cross country phase beginning 12pm on Saturday. On Sunday the horses will have to prove their fitness by returning to the indoor arena to show jump for the final placings.

The Show Jumping World Cup line up includes the 2010 winner, Jamie Kermond who now lives in Ebenezer, NSW and the 2009 winner Chris Chugg from Glossodia in NSW who recently returned from helping Australia achieve the highest ever placing in the 2010 World Equestrian Games. Also competing is three time Olympian Vicki Roycroft from Mt White in NSW, the 2010 Australian Junior and Young Rider Champion 17-year-old Tom McDermott, 2010 Summer Classic World Cup winner Brook Dobbin from Victoria and the winner of the 2011 Sydney Royal World Cup qualifier Julia Hargreaves from Wilberforce in NSW. Joining these top riders are another 16 elite competitors from across the country, ensuring spectators will be in for a thrilling competition on Sunday.

The Sydney International Equestrian Centre is just off the M7 at Horsley Park only 45 minutes from the centre of Sydney. Parking at the venue is free and much of the action takes place in the indoor arena making it the perfect event for spectators.

Visit www.sydneyeventing.org  for more information.

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