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Friday, April 18, 2008  •  15:45 GMT

BANKING ON EVENTING

HSBC to support the new FEI Eventing series HSBC FEI Classics

In addition to being the exclusive financial services partner to the FEI, HSBC, the world’s local bank, has made a commitment to the discipline of Eventing on a global basis. This commitment will cover the prestigious 4* events which will be known as the HSBC FEI Classics. The five 4*events currently on the FEI calendar will make up the HSBC FEI Classics; these events not only have the richest tradition but are also the pinnacle of Eventing attracting the best riders and horses in the world.

Giles Morgan, HSBC’s Group Head of Sponsorship commented “HSBC is delighted to become a partner of the FEI and a major sponsor of Eventing. It is a sport that provides equal opportunity for men and women – and is truly global in scale. We look forward to an exciting partnership – particularly the development of the HSBC FEI Classics.”

The 2008 HSBC FEI Classics is as follows:

24-27 April: Rolex Kentucky Three-Day-Event (USA)
1-4 May: Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR)
12-15 June: Luhmühlen CCI**** presented by E.ON (GER)
4-7 September: Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR)
22-26 October: Les étoiles de Pau (FRA)

The top ten riders at each 4* event will amass vital points which go towards the HSBC FEI Classics overall ranking where the top five are awarded with prize money. The US$1,000,000 contributed by HSBC will be distributed over the next three years, which when broken down makes the highest prize pot available in the world of Eventing on a yearly basis.

1st: U$ 150,000
2nd: U$ 75,000
3rd: U$ 50,000
4th: U$ 33,333
5th: U$ 25,000

“This is fantastic news. Hopefully this sort of prize fund will help raise the profile of the sport generating more media interest, give riders a thrilling target and reward the sponsors. Eventing is renowned for low prize money levels so this is a very exciting step forward,” points out multi-World, Olympic, and European medallist, Badminton and four-time Burghley winner William Fox-Pitt.

“We are convinced that this new formula will mark the start of a new chapter in the development of Eventing and have no doubt that this energizing momentum will also have positive effects on equestrian sport in general,” said Alex McLin, FEI Secretary General.

About HSBC Bank plc:
HSBC serves 15.6 million customers in the UK and employs more than 40,000 UK staff. HSBC is Britain's most recommended big bank. HSBC Bank plc is a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc, and a member of the HSBC Group. HSBC Holdings plc serves over 125 million customers worldwide through some 10,000 offices in 82 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa. HSBC is embedding sustainability into its core financial services business. This starts with its own operations. The bank measures its use of energy and water and production of waste and carbon dioxide across its offices around the world. It has also set targets to reduce these.

About FEI:
The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) is the international body governing equestrian sport recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It is the sole controlling authority for all international events in Dressage, Jumping, Eventing, Driving, Endurance, Vaulting, Reining and Para Equestrian. It establishes regulations and rules and approves programmes for equestrian competitions at Championships and Regional and Olympic Games.

The FEI encourages the observance of the principles and spirits of horsemanship, particularly in the relationship with horses, and promotes the highest standards of organisation, judging, course design, veterinary and medication control and fair play at international events.

The FEI was founded in 1921. Since 1991, its headquarters are located in Lausanne (SUI). 134 National Federations are affiliated to the FEI.

About Eventing:
The sport, part of the Olympic programme since 1912, is a combined competition discipline in which men and women compete as equals. It demands considerable experience in all branches of equitation and a precise knowledge of the horse’s ability and character. It covers every aspect of horsemanship: the harmony between horse and rider that characterise Dressage; the stamina and extensive experience essential for the Cross Country; the precision, agility and technique involved in Jumping.

For further information please contact:
Octagon (on behalf of HSBC):
Philippa Baillie
Email: philippa.baillie@octagon.com

FEI:
Malina Gueorguiev, FEI Communications Manager
Email: malina.gueorguiev@fei.org