TORONTO, Nov. 5, 2013 /CNW/ - Twenty-four of the world's best riders along with their 56 horses are set to begin a week of top show jumping when the international division officially opens tonight at the prestigious CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show, Toronto.
Between now and Saturday, November 9th, these select riders will have the opportunity to compete in ten matinee and evening competitions including the $100,000 Hickstead FEI World CupTM Grand Prix presented by GroupBy (Wednesday, November 6th), the $50,000 Weston Canadian Open (Friday, November 8th) and Saturday evening's $75,000 Ricoh Big Ben Challenge.
Current Canadian Champion Yann Candele of Caledon, ON, who just claimed the Greenhawk Canadian Cup for the fourth consecutive time, will lead the squad representing the home team. He will be joined by ten-time Olympian 'Captain Canada' Ian Millar (Perth, ON), two-time Canadian Champion Ainsley Vince (Burlington, ON), 2008 Beijing team silver medalist Mac Cone (King City, ON), Karen Cudmore (based in Omaha, NB), Angela Covert (St. Lazare, PQ), as well as Jordan MacPherson (Toronto, ON) and Barcelona Olympian Beth Underhill (Schomberg, ON).
The American and foreign riders are always fierce competitors and this year they have sent a mix of seasoned veterans and exciting 'next generation' superstars who are rapidly making their ascent up the show jumping ladder.
Hotly anticipated visiting riders include two-time Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward of Brewster, NY; Olympic team gold medalist Laura Kraut (Wellington, FL); and exciting young talent including Belgium's Jos Verlooy (18), New York, NY's Katie Dinan (20), Brianne Goutal (25, Palm Beach, FL) and Belgian twin brothers Nicola and Olivier Philippaerts (25). Kent Farrington (33, Greenwich, CT) returns to defend his 2012 title in the Ricoh Big Ben Challenge.
The evening performance on Thursday, November 7th offers an exciting double-bill of international show jumping with the $32,000 MNP International Top Score and the $20,000 Royal Dressage Invitational Freestyle to Music.
The Royal Horse Show is not limited to competition however, with family-friendly features including the exciting Jack Russell Terrier races and Sylvia Zerbini, former star of Cavalia, performing in the horse show this week.
The show continues through Sunday, November 10th, with closing day's competition free with general admission to the Royal.
For complete list of international entries, full horse show timetable and to purchase tickets online please visit royalfair.org.
About the Royal Horse Show and 91st Royal Agricultural Winter Fair ~ A family tradition since 1922, the Royal Horse Show brings world-class horses and riders from Canada, the U.S. and overseas, including Olympic and World champions, to Toronto each November to compete for almost $800,000 in prize money and prestigious titles. Over 850 horses of all shapes and sizes participate in show jumping, dressage, indoor eventing, driving, coaching and so much more, over the ten-days of competition. Special features such as the President's Choice Animal Theatre, the aMAZEing Food Journey, AG-tivity Central, Trade-Fair shopping & educational events round out a day at The Royal. The Royal remains a highlight of the Toronto fall social calendar, visited by Royalty, politicians and horse-enthusiasts for generations. For competition schedules, LIVE webcasting, results and to purchase tickets, please visit www.royalfair.org.
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Image with caption: "Kent Farrington will return with Uceko to defend his 2012 Ricoh Big Ben Challenge title at the 2013 CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show. The international division runs through November 9th at the Ricoh Coliseum, Exhibition Place. (CNW Group/Royal Agricultural Winter Fair)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131105_C4595_PHOTO_EN_33025.jpg