Equestrianism: Leading six nations from Athens to compete for Windsor's Prospect Cup

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The Independent Online

The Windsor International Horse Trials, with a new-found enthusiasm for innovation, have added Quest-X, an amateur star-spotting contest, to the Team Challenge, now called the Prospect Cup. Both will run in conjunction with the annual three-day event to be held from 26 to 29 May, still using the traditional "with steeplechase" format that is being phased out elsewhere.

The Windsor International Horse Trials, with a new-found enthusiasm for innovation, have added Quest-X, an amateur star-spotting contest, to the Team Challenge, now called the Prospect Cup. Both will run in conjunction with the annual three-day event to be held from 26 to 29 May, still using the traditional "with steeplechase" format that is being phased out elsewhere.

The long format is favoured by the Princess Royal, president of the event, who believes that it is valuable in the development of young riders and horses. Her former mount Doublet, with whom she won the European title in 1971, learnt to jump at speed through contesting the steeplechase phase.

Windsor has a new director in Jonathan Warr, for 10 years the event's course designer. Warr has brought in a new course designer in Guiseppe Della Chiesa (reserve rider for Italy's Olympic three-day event team in 1992), the first Italian to be responsible for a British cross-country course.

The Prospect Cup will bring the top six nations at the Olympic Games in Athens - France, Great Britain, US, Germany, New Zealand and Australia - into contention, instead of the four regional teams that took part in last year's inaugural team challenge.

Britain will have a formidable quartet comprising Olympic individual gold and bronze medallists, Leslie Law and Pippa Funnell, Sarah Cutteridge, who would have been in the team but for her horse going lame, and the talented young rider Piggy French.

The idea of a series of international team events has been mooted, so Windsor's version will be watched by officials of the International Equestrian Federation with a view to establishing it worldwide.

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