Thursday, February 14, 2008 13:10 GMT
ROLEX GRAND SLAM OF EVENTING UPS THE ANTE
$350,000 Purse to any rider who wins The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials and The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in succession.
When the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing was first offered in 2002 it seemed like an impossible feat. Many of the world's top riders spend their entire career trying to win just one CCI**** event. To win three in succession would be historical.
Then, in 2003, British rider Pippa Funnell rewrote history. She won, with two different horses, the three premiere CCI**** events: America's Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and England's duo of four-stars, The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials and The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.
Australia's Andrew Hoy got very close to duplicating Funnell's feat in 2006 after winning The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials the following weekend, but penalties in the show jumping phase at The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials left the coveted prize unclaimed.
Beginning in 2008, the pot is even sweeter. Any rider who can duplicate Funnell's achievement will now win $350,000.
Another of Britain's top competitors, William Fox-Pitt, is the only rider currently live in the Rolex Grand Slam. He won The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials last Autumn, an enormous achievement in itself. In order to pull off the Rolex Grand Slam he would have to travel to Lexington, KY, win Rolex Kentucky (April 24-27) and then return to England and win The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials the following week (May 1-4). If someone else wins either of those two competitions, the Rolex Grand Slam begins again. The three events must be won in succession but don't have to be won on the same horse.
Winning all three, in one stretch, the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing is an unbelievable gauntlet and a timeless accomplishment.
By Joanie Morris, United States Equestrian Federation