Top Riders compete for £250,000 prize pot at Bolesworth International 4****

World number one showjumper Scott Brash has given a resounding seal of approval to the Ashford Farm entry at this year's event.

Four days of box-office action begin in the spectacular grounds of Cheshire's stunning Bolesworth Castle on Thursday, with British Olympic gold medallist Brash being joined by fellow Olympian Nick Skelton and stars like John Whitaker, Edwina Tops-Alexander, Laura Kraut and Billy Twomey, among many others.

It will be 29-year-old Brash's Bolesworth debut, and he said: "I am really looking forward to it. I have heard great things about the show, and I am so keen to go this year and jump there.

"It is amazing what Bolesworth are doing. It is just what our sport needs in Great Britain, someone like Nina (Bolesworth International owner and show president Nina Barbour) doing everything that she is doing.

"To get a four-star show like this is great, and I hear she has got even bigger plans, moving forward. Nina is very good at what she does, and it is great to hear that she has got a show in Liverpool next January as well."

Running for the first time at four-star level, Bolesworth has attracted almost one fifth of the top world-ranked 100 riders.

Brash is one of the hottest properties in equestrian sport, having enjoyed a staggering run of success that effectively began at London 2012 when he helped Great Britain win Olympic team gold in unforgettable fashion at Greenwich Park alongside Nick Skelton, Ben Maher and Peter Charles.

The 29-year-old Scotsman's partnership with Hello Sanctos is among the greatest showjumping has ever seen. Following their Olympic success, Brash and the brilliant 13-year-old bay gelding have taken the sport by storm, winning successive Global Champions Tour titles while also enjoying a long unbroken run as number one rider on the Federation Equestre Internationale's official world rankings list.

And Brash has continued to sweep all before him this season, winning the Miami Beach GCT, while also adding the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen to his roll of honour. Having also collected the Rolex Geneva Grand Prix title last December, he is now one more victory away from securing one of showjumping's richest prizes.

If Brash wins the Spruce Meadows Grand Prix in September, he will become the first rider in showjumping history to complete the Rolex Grand Slam, and with it a staggering 1 million Euros bonus.

"We have had a great year so far, and I really hope it continues," he added.

"I think every rider would love to win the Aachen grand prix. I have always dreamt of doing it, and when you put all your sights at something, and then it all comes off, it's a wonderful feeling. Sanctos is such a special horse, and I think he has got even better with age."

With Sanctos currently enjoying a breather, Brash takes the promising nine-year-old Hello Forever to Bolesworth, and he said: "He is only nine, but he won a class in Miami earlier this year. He's a really good horse for the future, and it's great to take him to a four-star and give him some more experience."

Four members of showjumping's legendary Whitaker family will compete in the CSI4* — John, Robert, Ellen and last year's Bolesworth Redrow Grand Prix winner William - their fellow Nations Cup performers Will Funnell, Spencer Roe and Holly Gillott, in addition to the ultra-consistent Laura Renwick and Dan Nielson, will guarantee a powerful home-based challenge at Bolesworth.

A strong Irish representation includes Twomey, London 2012 individual bronze medallist Cian O'Connor, recently-crowned Royal Windsor grand prix champion Dermot Lennon, last year's Hickstead Derby winner Trevor Breen, his brother Shane and their fellow global star Cameron Hanley.

Considerable anticipation, meanwhile, surrounds a mouthwatering overseas challenge, headed by Tops-Alexander, Kraut, Lauren Hough, young Belgian prospect Jos Verlooy, Italian Luca Moneta, Swedish pair Angelica Augustsson and Angelie von Essen, plus Colombia's Daniel Bluman.

With more than £250,000 in prize money on offer, visitors to Bolesworth can expect to witness world-class showjumping at the sport's elite level, while a number of two-star classes also feature on an exciting Bolesworth schedule, together with national and amateur competitions.

And it doesn't stop with showjumping, as other major highlights across the four days include a prestigious elite young horse auction, a dressage to music competition featuring international stars Laura Tomlinson and Michael Eilberg, plus Express Eventing with the likes of Vittoria Panizzon and Alex Hua Tian, and a puissance, in addition to a pop concert featuring leading British band Scouting For Girls and a Gladiators competition that will see stars of the cult ITV series taking part.

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