Blair Castle looks to host European eventing champs

| 4 May 2012 9:50 am
Blair Castle event director Alex Lohore

Blair Castle event director Alex Lohore. © Mike Bain

Blair Castle in Scotland is Britain’s hope to host the 2015 FEI European Eventing Championships, and is up against four other nations in its bid.

Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson, last week travelled to FEI headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland  to add weight to the British bid to host the 2015 championships. Identifying a desire to capitalise on the Olympic legacy, Robertson declared the bid a ‘top priority’ for the UK Government and described eventing as ‘an integral part of our sporting culture’.

Chief Executive of the British Equestrian Federation (BEF), Andrew Finding, led the five strong team, which also included the expertise of, Stuart Turner, Events Director for EventScotland, Rebecca Edser, Events Consultant at UK Sport and Alec Lochore, Event Director of the Blair Castle International Horse Trials and Country Fair.

The British bid goes up against four other nations; Germany, Poland, the Netherlands and Belgium. A decision will be made by the Bureau of the FEI in June 2012.

“The support of Hugh Robertson, Minister for Sport and the Olympics, UK Sport and EventScotland has been instrumental in driving our bid to host these championships,” Finding said.

“It was a privilege to lead such a highly professional bid team and I know that the backing we have enjoyed here, combined with the level of professionalism and care that goes into our eventing community, will ensure this translates into a wonderful championships. We sincerely hope that the Bureau of the FEI will award us the opportunity and our fingers are firmly crossed!”

Robertson said Britain had already secured a fantastic series of major sporting events for the years after London 2012 that will leave a sports legacy. “It would be fantastic to add the FEI European Eventing Championships 2015 to that list.”

William Fox-Pitt and Parklane Hawk at Blair Castle in 2010.

William Fox-Pitt and Parklane Hawk at Blair Castle in 2010. © Mike Bain

Located in Perthshire, Scotland, the Blair Castle International Horse Trials and Country Fair is Scotland’s leading equestrian event which runs over four days in August each year and attracts more than 40,000 visitors. A vibrant presentation showcased the passion and experience of the organisers and the unique, unforgettable backdrop that the 56,000 hectare Atholl Estate affords.

Stuart Turner, Events Director for EventScotland, promised a truly Scottish reception: “Scotland prides itself on the warm welcome, hospitality and huge variety of experiences it offers to visitors. It is the perfect stage for hosting international events.”

Blair Castle Event Director Alec Lochore said the venue had been awarded the opportunity to host the Young Rider eventing championships twice in the last five years. “To bring the very best competitors in the world to our doorstep and host senior championships would bring a new realm of prestige – a Senior Equestrian Championships has never been held in Scotland before,” he ssaid.

“Our aim is to work with the FEI to put on a truly memorable event at Blair in 2015. We believe this would continue the legacy of 2012 and inspire a new generation of riders; it’s a tremendously exciting prospect.”

Simon Morton, Director of Major Events and International Relations at UK Sport, said the 2015 FEI European Eventing Championships is the highest priority equestrian event on UK Sport’s future strategy.

“Having already secured the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships for Glasgow, it would be fantastic to bring another world class event to Scotland, ensuring the legacy from the London Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games continues across the UK,” Morton said.

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