Record entries have poured in for this year’s Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby Meeting, causing organisers to reschedule classes and close entries early.
Hundreds of horses and riders are heading for the All England Jumping Course in West Sussex next week for the derby meeting, from June 25 to 29.
The show gets under way with a range of national showjumping classes, while the action in the International Arena begins on Thursday 26. The show culminates on Sunday 29 with the famous Hickstead Derby, which is sponsored for the first time by leading online retailer Equestrian.com and will once again be shown live on Sky Sports.
Several former winners are entered for the derby, including last year’s victor Phillip Miller, three-time winner (and runner-up in 2012 and 2013) William Funnell, Guy Williams, who won in 2010, and the 2011 winner Tina Fletcher, the only female winner of the class since 1973.
About 1800 horses are expected to arrive at the All England Jumping Course next week, and thanks to a funding grant from the British Equestrian Federation, this year’s competitors can expect various improvements at the showground.
Showing riders in Jacksons Fencing Ring 5 now have an all-weather strip down the full length of the long side of the arena, installed by Andrews Bowen. “This means the going will remain consistent and safe whatever the weather, and will encourage younger riders to really gallop,” says Hickstead’s showing director, Roger Stack.
There is also a new area of hard-standing, providing parking for horseboxes during the winter months. This will allow Hickstead’s top class all-weather arenas to be used for clinics and events outside of the summer season.