19 June 2011

HSBC FEI Classics™ leader King heads for Luhmühlen

Mary King – leader of the HSBC Rankings - is all set for HSBC FEI Classics™ in Luhmühlen with Apache Sauce © Kit Houghton/FEI

The unstoppable Mary King (GBR), who moved to the number one spot in the HSBC Rankings at the beginning of this month, indicated at the start of the year that the HSBC FEI Classics™ were going to be a major goal for 2011.

The 50-year-old’s plan is certainly going splendidly so far, and she now heads to the third of the five legs, Luhmühlen presented by E.ON Avacon (GER), with a strong 10-point lead in the HSBC FEI Classics™ series over Mark Todd (NZL), who does not have a ride at Germany’s premier event which starts tomorrow (16-19 June).

King, who has had a storming season so far with a third place at Badminton and a record one-two at Kentucky, rides the veteran Apache Sauce. He is a white-faced chestnut with great character and a definite “sense of humour”, but several of King’s CCI4* placings in the past few seasons, including seventh at Burghley last year, have been thanks to the 15-year-old gelding by Endoli.

King’s compatriots Piggy French and William Fox-Pitt both have a strong interest in earning more HSBC FEI Classics™ points. Fox-Pitt, the series champion in 2008 and 2010, rides the Argentine Thoroughbred Macchiato, his winning mount here in 2008, and French, runner-up at Badminton, brings the rising star Flying Machine to his first CCI4*.

The British duo are currently lying third and sixth in the HSBC FEI Classics™ points table, in which the leading five riders at the end of the season will share a US$330,000 prize pot. Clayton Fredericks (AUS), eighth, Caroline Powell (NZL), ninth, and the 2009 series champion Oliver Townend (GBR),10th, also have rides at Luhmühlen.

German riders have their chance to get off the mark tomorrow, and the strong home side boasts three former Luhmühlen winners: the World Champion Michael Jung (2009), Frank Ostholt (2006) and Bettina Hoy (2003).

Some 50-plus riders are expected to start the Dressage on Thursday (16 June), with 13 nations represented: Australia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Netherlands and the USA.

The site at Luhmühlen, which has been hosting Eventing championships since 1982, has had a revamp in readiness for the HSBC FEI European Eventing Championships (25-28 August), but riders hoping for Cross-Country clues may be unlucky – it is expected that Course-Designer Captain Mark Phillips and his team have a very different track up their sleeves for the big day.

Watch our HSBC FEI Classics™ Preview on FEI Youtube Channel here and follow the action at the HSBC FEI Classics™ in Luhmühlen with daily reports on www.fei.org, full start lists and results from www.luhmuehlen.de and highlights on www.feitv.org.

HSBC FEI Classics™ Leaderboard in 2011 (after 2 out of 5 events)

1 Mary King (GBR) 25 points
2 Mark Todd (NZL) 15 points
3 Piggy French (GBR) 12 points
4 Sinead Halpin (USA) 10 points
5 Sam Griffiths (AUS) 8 points
6 William Fox-Pitt (GBR) 8 points
7 Niklas Lindback (SWE) 6 points
8 Clayton Fredericks (AUS) 6 points
9 Caroline Powell (NZL) 5 points
10 Oliver Townend (GBR) 5 points

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