Exquis World Dressage Masters Studies Brazilian Leg for 2011

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WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 1–Just days before the start of the first leg of the 2010 Exquis World Dressage Masters in Palm Beach, the WDM organization announced Monday the signing of a letter of intent to consider staging an event in Brazil in 2011.

Camil Smeulders, managing director of WDM, announced the signing of the letter of intent with the company Haras Vale da Raposa operated by world renowned Brazilian architect Bennett Nisencwajg and his son, Heitor.

WDM said it viewed the discussions as a major step in internationalizing dressage as the key for a sustainable future for the Olympic sport.

Brazil is considered one of the leading economies of the future and has been selected by the International Olympic Committee to host the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The city was host of the 2007 Pan American Games, which includes the three Olympic disciplines of dressage, jumping and eventing. South America would be the third continent to be part of the prestigious WDM circuit, the richest lineup of dressage events in the world.

Bennett Nisencwajg is famous for creating exclusive residences in South America and on the East Coast of the United States, including a resort on Brazil’s central coast which includes a Lusitano stud.

WDM 5-star events have been held in Palm Beach, Florida; Munich, Germany; Cannes, France and Hickstead, England, each with prize money of €100,000 (US$138,000) plus a Rider Bonus of €25,000 (US$34,600) sponsored by Nürnberger Versicherungsgruppe.

The 2010 WDM circuit kicks off at Palm Beach this week with Steffen Peters, Anky van Grunsven and Isabell Werth competing together for the first time since the 2009 World Cup in Las Vegas was won by the American.

Haras Vale da Raposa and WDM management will conduct a feasibility study in the coming months to determine whether a WDM event could be viable and, if so, select a city to host it.

“It’s an honor for us and for our country that WDM considers to stage a leg of its prestigious 5-star circuit in Brazil,” Bennett and Heitor Nisencwajg of Haras Vale da Raposa said in a statement. “We are very confident that Brazil is capable of hosting an event like this and expect a positive outcome.”

Anthony Kies, Chief Executive Officer of WDM, said: “WDM wants to grow gradually. We have to keep pace with our commercial leverage and will have to convince sport authorities, riders, owners and sponsors that this is a unique opportunity. At the same time, we are confident that Brazil has the potential to become one of the hosting countries of WDM.”