FEI reports ‘strong interest’ in world championship bids

The world governing body of equestrian sport, the FEI, says that there has been strong interest in the bidding process to stage the 2022 World Championships, with a global spread of potential hosts across four continents which includes venues in 20 different countries.

FEI reports ‘strong interest’ in world championship bids

The world governing body of equestrian sport, the FEI, says that there has been strong interest in the bidding process to stage the 2022 World Championships, with a global spread of potential hosts across four continents which includes venues in 20 different countries.

Yesterday, for the first time, it hosted a workshop at its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland which was attended by representatives from over 30 venues which are considering making formal bids. Those attending were briefed on the economic impact of the host city and country, operational requirements, commercial opportunities, broadcast media rights and event promotion as well as the bidding process itself.

“It’s extremely encouraging to have received so many expressions of interest to host the FEI world championships 2022,” said FEI President Ingmar De Vos.

The healthy level of interest is no doubt due to the fact that bids can now be submitted to host single-discipline events, so that it could transpire that each equestrian discipline will have its own world championships, as had been the case prior to 1990 when the World Equestrian Games were first staged to host all seven discipline at the one location. “Our sport has grown so much that an all-discipline FEI World Equestrian Games has become too big for many venues to host,” De Vos said. “By opening up the bidding process for 2022 to single and multi-discipline bids, and not excluding a full Games, we believe that we have created a more enticing formula and the high level of expressions of interest suggests that we are on the right track.”

Although no specific details have been released about the potential bidders, the FEI confirmed to the Irish Examiner that multi-disciplinary expressions of interest were among those that had been received.

Following yesterday’s workshop the process will advance to a formal bid stage which has a deadline of June 7th this year, after which a shortlist will be drawn up, with final evaluation of by the end of October.

Also yesterday the FEI announced the confirmed 18-strong line-up for next week’s Dressage World Cup Final being held in Gothenburg, Sweden. Included is Ireland Judy Reynolds with Vancouver K, while American world champion Laura Graves will travel with Verdades hoping to dislodge multiple-winner Isabell Werth of Germany.

This week is a relatively quiet one on the European side of the Atlantic as far as show jumping is concerned with no five-star or four-star fixtures. On the other side of the water, the 12-week long Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida culminates with the five-star Rolex Grand Prix on Saturday night which carries $500,000 in prize money.

The second-last week saw Lorcan Gallagher fare best of the Irish in Saturday night’s Wellington Agricultural Grand Prix in which he took fifth on Hunters Conlypso 11. On the Sunday, Derry rider Daniel Coyle won the Hermès U-25 Grand Prix Final on Irish horse CHS Krooze. Now 24, Coyle is coming to the end of his eligibility for such events. “This is my last year in the Under 25 and I think the series has been incredible for me,” he said after Sunday’s win. He has competed in the Hermès series for the past four years at the festival. “Experiencing this format is a real help for when we’re older.” He had only recently brought CHS Krooze over from Ireland. “I didn’t expect her to be at this level already and that just proves that the Under 25 is a real good series for the horses as well.” Coyle is the third highest-ranked rider in the world among those under 25, behind Bertram Allen and second-placed Jos Verlooy of the Netherlands.

The under-25 rankings are not confined to points earned in underage events but reflect performances at all levels. Indeed most of the riders at the upper end of the U25 rankings will spend most of their time at the senior classes Irish riders pulled off a real coup on the final day of this year’s Sunshine Tour in Spain when scooping the top three places in the Grand Prix on Sunday. The three Irish riders were among eleven who made the jump-off and Susan Fitzpatrick took the early lead on Fellow Castlefield, which lasted until Peter Moloney edged her back to second place with a clear on Ornellaia that was half of a second faster. Fourth-last to go was Anthony Condon on SFS Aristio who almost caught Moloney to move into second. There were three riders left thereafter and none were able to spoil the Irish party, though there was a late threat from the previous week’s winning pairing of British rider Holly Smith and Hearts Destiny who were on target for the winning time but failed to clear the final fence.

Padraig McCarthy and Mr Chunky will be among the Irish eventers at the UK fixture at Belton this weekend. Last year’s winner Jonty Evans, who was subsequently injured in a fall at Tattersalls and has now made good progress, will make a non-competitive guest appearance with his winning mount Cooley Rorkes Drift.

American eventer Liz Halliday-Sharp won the CCI4*-S contest in North Carolina at the weekend on her mother’s Irish-bred Fernhill By Night.

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