Equestrian - Big money on offer at FEI Nations Cup final

Eighteen nations will be battle for honours - and big prize money - at the inaugural Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup final in Barcelona this weekend.

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Equestrian - Big money on offer at FEI Nations Cup final
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Sagrada Família in Barcelona (MasterLu - Fotolia.com)

This year's competition has undergone a facelift, turning the team class circuit created in 1909 and presented as series since 1965 into a more global affair.

Whereas the original format was limited to the best eight teams in the world - and mainly focused on Europe, especially since the USA's relegation in 2011 - the new series has brought together 41 nations.

Held over 22 legs, this season's competition saw those countries divided into three main groups: Divisions One and Two for Europe, and a group covering other regions across the globe.

Qualification criteria was more complicated than before - prompting calls from some parts for simplification in the future - and given the increased scale of the competition, prize money has also been bloated. This weekend's finals are worth 2 million euros.

Such a large pot means the series has attracted the some of the best riders in the world, and with the cream having risen to the top, the world's best 18 will now do battle in the Catalan capital, starting with the first class on Friday.

From there, eight teams will qualify for Sunday's final, with 1.5 million euro prize money up for grabs, while the remaining 10 teams will compete in Saturday's consolation class with 300,000 euros on offer.

Despite the more global nature of the series this year, European and North American teams still head to Barcelona are strong favourites to claim the title.

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