HSBC Bank sponsorship of the FEI World Cup series will mean a prize-pool of about $70,000 for the New Zealand qualifier, but this means that the organising committee of the three-star Mitavite International Horse Trials at Kihikihi have had to bring in a new fee structure, and meet the FEI's requirements of a minimum of 20 entries in the top class.
The organisers are proposing a two-tiered entry system for the April event, with all riders initially paying a $500 non refundable entry fee, and then a $1500 start fee when collecting their back number, which is held by the secretary until the end of the event. The start fee of placed riders will be banked at the end of the event and will contribute towards the prize-pool, and all other competitors will collect their own cheque back again from the secretary even if they scratch, withdraw, are eliminated or do not complete the event.
Kihikihi president Bruce Bason said a minimum of 20 starters must take part in the qualifier under FEI requirements. "If we cannot meet the 20 starter criteria in 2009, being a non Olympic/WEG year, then the prospect for 2010 will be difficult," he said.
Australian riders were being invited to the event.