All Roads Lead To Poland
It has been his main aim all season for which he has been carefully preparing his dual championship winner and beautiful jumping machine Ben Along Time, a 4-star winner and Olympic and World silver medalist.
However, he will face fierce competition from his travelling companions on the long road across Europe, his wife Lucinda on Headley Britannia and British representatives Ruth Edge (Two Thyme) and Oliver Townend (Flint Curtis), winner and runner-up respectively at the recent Gatcombe (GBR) qualifier. All four horses are 4-star winners.
Edge said that after 'sleeping on it' for 24 hours, she was spurred to travel to the prestigious Final, and other British-based riders who have decided it's not to be missed are the former dual Olympic gold medalist Mark Todd (NZL) with Gandalf and South African Stuart Fitzgerald.
A field of 31 riders from 14 nations, including the 2003-04 champion, Linda Algotsson (SWE) with the 19-year-old Stand By Me, will tackle the first HSBC FEI World Cup Eventing Final to be held in Eastern Europe, at the much-praised venue of Strzegom.
The longest journey by far has been undertaken by Kelly Prather (USA), who has traveled from California with Ballinakill Glory, her trip made possible by a new scholarship given in memory of Jack Le Goff, the French-born trainer who died recently.
Germany is the most strongly represented nation, with six riders, including Marina Köhncke, winner of the Malmö qualifier on Calma Schelly, plus Frank Ostholt (Air Jordan) and Kai Rüder (Leprince des Bois), 4th and 6th at last year's HSBC FEI World CupEventing Final, plus recent Luhmühlen 4-star winner Michael Jung with La Biosthetique Sam.
The following nations are represented: Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Lithuania, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Sweden and USA.
Dressage will take place on Saturday and Cross-Country, followed by Horse Inspection and Jumping, on Sunday.
Cross Country Course Designer, Rudiger Schwarz, has made some extensive changes to the course, it will take a different route over a distance of 4400 metres with 27 fences. It will be one of the most challenging courses to have been built in Poland in recent years.
Strzegom is situated in the south-west quarter of Poland and for three days will become the world capital of Eventing.
2009 HSBC FEI World Cup Eventing standings (after 9 of 9 qualifiers)
1 Mary King (GBR) 211
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