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HSBC FEI Classics™ 2012/2013: Spotlight on Andrew Nicholson at Kentucky

RELEASE: April 23, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Kate Green, FEI Communications

Lausanne (SUI)
Andrew Nicholson, pictured here en route to victory at Les Etoiles de Pau CCI 4* (FRA) with Nereo, heads into the third leg of the HSBC FEI Classics™ 2012/2013 - the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event - as series leader and still at the top of the HSBC Rankings. (Photo: Kit Houghton/FEI)
Andrew Nicholson, pictured here en route to victory at Les Etoiles de Pau CCI 4* (FRA) with Nereo, heads into the third leg of the HSBC FEI Classics™ 2012/2013 - the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event - as series leader and still at the top of the HSBC Rankings. (Photo: Kit Houghton/FEI)
All eyes will be on Andrew Nicholson (NZL) this weekend as he heads for the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (USA) on 25-28 April to try to extend his lead in the HSBC FEI Classics™ 2012/2013 series.

Nicholson enjoyed a remarkable run of success last autumn, winning Burghley CCI4* (GBR), Blenheim CIC3* (GBR), Boekelo CCI3* (NED) and Pau CCI4* (FRA) in quick succession to take the world number one slot in the HSBC Rankings.

He also capped a brilliant season by finishing second, behind William Fox-Pitt (GBR), in the HSBC FEI Classics™ 2011/12 and makes no secret of the fact that he would like to go one better this time and become the first New Zealander to head the leaderboard.

To add to the excitement, if Nicholson wins at Kentucky, he will set up the first ever head-to-head for the Rolex Grand Slam, with Fox-Pitt, the weekend after at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR) on 3-6 May.

This tantalising scenario is eminently possible, as Nicholson has two useful rides at Kentucky: Calico Joe, placed in two CCI4* last year, and the striking black horse Quimbo, one of the many Spanish-bred horses he favours competing.

Nicholson has described the latter, winner of Boekelo in 2012, as one of the best horses he has ever sat on - some compliment from the man who has probably ridden a greater variety of event horses than anyone else.

However, he faces stiff competition in Kentucky. Phillip Dutton (USA), who has a great record at the premier US event and won in 2008, has two exciting up-and-coming horses, Fernhill Eagle, 12th last year, and Mighty Nice, a reserve for the London Olympic Games.

Other leading US riders in action include Buck Davidson, three-handed on Park Trader, Mar de Amor and Ballynoe Castle RM, Dutton’s Olympic team mate Boyd Martin on the nine-year-old Trading Aces and the experienced combination of Will Coleman and Twizzel.

Nicholson has three fellow travellers across the Atlantic: his compatriot Jonelle Richards (The Deputy), a member of New Zealand’s bronze medal team at the London Olympic Games, plus two former Kentucky winners, Fox-Pitt and Mary King (GBR).

King, who became the first rider to finish first and second at Kentucky, in 2011, and is the only woman to have won the HSBC FEI Classics™, returns with the powerful jumper Fernhill Urco. The grey featured in that memorable 2011 result, in second place, and is returning from a year on the sidelines.

Fox-Pitt also has good ammunition: his two rides are the German-bred Seacookie TSF, the horse that gave him his record 50th CCI win last year, at Blenheim, and the chestnut stallion Chilli Morning, winner of Bramham CCI3* last year.

A total of 47 athletes from seven nations will be competing in Kentucky, with 14 candidates - 11 from the USA and three from Canada - for the $1,000 HSBC Training Bursary awarded to the highest placed rider never to have previously completed a 4-star event.

The Ground Jury will be made up of Nick Burton (GBR), who judged at the London Olympic Games, as President, along with Christina Klingspor (SWE) and Brian Ross (USA). Tom Ryckewaert (BEL) will be Technical Delegate and Derek di Grazia (USA) is now in his third year as Course Designer.

The action kicks off at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event on 25 April, with live results on www.rk3de.org.

FEI TV, the FEI's official video website, will cover the action LIVE in Kentucky (see start times on www.feitv.org/live):
25 April - Dressage Day 1
26 April - Dressage Day 2
27 April - Cross Country
28 April - Jumping

Download the HSBC FEI Classics™ 2012/2013 press kit: www.feipresskits.org

HSBC’s Training Bursary
At the centre of HSBC’s sponsorship is a commitment to the development of the sport of Eventing at every level. As part of its support of the HSBC FEI Classics™, HSBC has introduced a Training Bursary. This is a unique award which is presented to the highest placed rider never to have previously completed a 4-star level event. The winning rider receives a training voucher to the value of US $1,000 to be spent on sessions with a trainer of the athlete’s choice approved by the FEI and National Federation.

HSBC FEI Classics™ 2012/2013 calendar
1 Les Etoiles de Pau CCI 4* (FRA) - 24-28 October 2012
2 Australian International 3 Day Event (AUS) - 22-25 November 2012
3 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (USA) - 25-28 April 2013
4 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR) - 3-6 May 2013
5 Luhmühlen CCI 4* presented by DHL PAKET (GER) - 13-16 June 2013
6 Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR) - 5-8 September 2013

Notes to Editors
HSBC, the platinum partner of the FEI and global sponsor of Eventing, has supported the HSBC FEI Classics™ series, which unites the top end of the international Eventing circuit, since 2008.

In our HSBC FEI Hub, you can access the HSBC FEI Classics™ 2012/2013 series standings, HSBC Rankings and all news relating to the current and past series.

Prize money
The HSBC FEI Classics™ prize fund is the largest on offer in the sport of Eventing on an annual basis. At the end of the HSBC FEI Classics™ 2012/2013 season, the five riders with the highest number of points collected across the six HSBC FEI Classics™ events will share a total prize fund of US$333,000 split as follows: 1st - US$150,000 (Series Champion); 2nd - US$75,000; 3rd - US$50,000; 4th - US$33,000; 5th - US$25,000.

HSBC Rankings
The rider at the top of the HSBC Rankings at the end of the 2013 Eventing season will receive a US $50,000 bonus. The winning rider will be announced in December 2013.

Join the FEI on Facebook & twitter
Our signature twitter hashtags for this series are #HSBC and #Eventing. We encourage you to use them, and if you have space: #HSBC FEI Classics™ #Eventing

Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event Media Contact
Marty Bauman
+1 508 698 6810 ext. 10

FEI Media Contacts
Grania Willis
Director Press Relations
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
+41 78 750 61 45