British Olympic medallists John Whitaker, Michael Whitaker and Peter Charles will lead a star-studded entry for the inaugural Liverpool International Horse Show. And they are joined at Liverpool Echo Arena from January 1-3 by fellow British stars Laura Renwick, Guy Williams, William Funnell, Robert Whitaker and William Whitaker, in addition to 2015 Bolesworth International grand prix champion Yazmin Pinchen.
A strong Irish challenge will be led by an in-form Billy Twomey, plus the consistently-successful Breen brothers, Shane and Trevor, former Aachen grand prix champion Denis Lynch, Cameron Hanley and Dermott Lennon.
And the overseas representation is considerable, including rising Italian force Emanuele Gaudiano, America’s Lucy Davis, exciting Belgian prospect Constant van Paesschen, Sweden’s Peder Fredricson, who was a member of the Swedish 2004 Olympic silver medal-winning team, Norway’s Geir Gulliksen and Dutch rider Johnny Pals.
Ten of the world’s top 100-ranked riders will be in action as Rio Olympics year 2016 gets underway with a blockbusting new four-star show that has a total prize fund of £160,000.
It is set to become the latest in a long line of Liverpool sporting success stories — a city renowned for its two Premier League football clubs, staging the Grand National and hosting many Open golf championships.
The show will mark its debut event by commencing on Friday, January 1 at the 6,000-capacity waterfront Echo Arena following a spectacular New Year’s Eve party the previous night, with two sessions per day across three days and culminating in the Liverpool International grand prix on January 3.
Twomey, who finished third in the recent Paris Masters grand prix behind French pair Patrice Delaveau and Simon Delestre, is relishing being part of the Liverpool experience, and he said: “It is great that we have another four-star show in Britain.
“Liverpool Echo Arena is such an amazing venue, and the time of year works well for everyone — owners, sponsors, riders and their families. We will all get the opportunity to watch some amazing sport and get to touch base at the same time.
“My horses are all on form, and my aim next year is to get back into the top 30 in the FEI rankings. Liverpool has six world-ranking classes, so it’s important that I perform well.”
Besides top-class showjumping, Liverpool’s slick, eye-catching production will incorporate scintillating performances from the ‘Bootleg Beatles,’ opera singers Bella Voci, theatrical stunt rider Clémence Faivre and the ever-popular Shetland Pony Grand National.
Show president Nina Barbour said: “We are honoured to be staging this show in the wonderful city of Liverpool on its stunning waterfront in the impressive Liverpool Echo Arena, and we know that three days of gripping action are guaranteed, culminating in Sunday’s headline Equestrian.com grand prix.”