Ireland is joining a growing number of nations in bringing showjumping to the people with a new Friday night showjumping series in the centre of Irish cities.
The launch of the new Jumping In The City Series, an initiative of Horse Sport Ireland in conjunction with the Irish Greyhound Board and Show Jumping Ireland, follows other successful inner-city equestrian sporting competitions, including events in New York’s Central Park, Florida’s Miami Beach, and the London Olympic Games.
Ireland’s Jumping In The City Series will run on consecutive Friday nights at greyhound stadiums in Ireland. It was launched at Shelbourne Park last month by Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food, the Marine and Defence.
The Underwriting Exchange Limited, a Lloyds Broker with offices in London and Dublin, has come on board as title sponsor, and is also sponsoring three of the series’ Grand Prix events.
The first leg of the series is at Limerick Greyhound Stadium on Friday, June 5, and moves to Curraheen Park in Cork on Friday, June 12, with the final leg in Shelbourne Park on Friday, June 26.
There will be three different classes of competition each night, including an amateur series for grassroots riders, a Grand Prix for Ireland’s top riders and the big crowd favourite – a puissance where riders try to jump a huge red wall as it is built progressively higher.
At the launch at Shelbourne Park, Coveney said: “Recognising that the Sport Horse sector contributes in excess of €700m to the economy annually, I was delighted to be in a position to allocate extra funding to Horse Sport Ireland in budget 2015. Some of the extra funding is being used for this initiative which is part of Horse Sport Ireland’s programme to implement the recommendations in the ‘Reaching New Heights’ strategy document that I recently launched.”
James Kennedy, Chairman of Horse Sport Ireland’s Finance Committee, said he believed the series had the potential to move show jumping in Ireland to a whole new level.
“We have experienced terrific success in the sport all over the world, and it’s great that people can see more of our riders and horses performing within our own cities. Horse Sport Ireland is very grateful to Minister Coveney for providing funding for this new initiative.”
The Underwriting Exchange Limited is specialist Niche Insurance and Reinsurance Broker with a long history in the Irish Market.
Adrian Butler of the Underwriting Exchange Limited said the company had a growing number of clients in the equestrian and agriculture and farm sector. “It will also be a wonderful opportunity to have a fun night out and invite our supporting Brokers and Service Providers to come along for a great evening entertainment. It’s a wonderful new concept in bringing the sport to a wider audience. We are delighted to be associated with charity partner of the Series Special Olympics Ireland and we are looking forward to three exciting evenings ahead.”
Geraldine Larkin, CEO of the Irish Greyhound Board, said all IGB stadiums started their lives as dual use venues sharing with such sports as soccer, athletics, and rugby. “In our quest to continue to develop alternative business streams for our industry, this partnership with Horse Sport Ireland will showcase nationally what we can offer. We want to thank Minister Coveney for recognising the potential synergy between HSI and ourselves and we believe these events will open up further opportunities with other potential business partners.”
Each Grand Prix, which is limited to 16 riders, offers a prize fund of €12,000 in Limerick, €12,000 Cork and €15,000 at the final leg in Shelbourne Park. If entries for Limerick and Cork exceed the 16 allocated spots, places will be allocated based on FEI rankings, Show Jumping Ireland rankings and places allocated by Irish Team Manager Robert Splaine and the Organising Committee plus a place for a young rider.
Places in the final will be allocated based on FEI, rankings, finishing positions in Limerick and Cork and Organising Committee invitations.
As part of the ongoing preparation for the event this week saw a horse and rider combination jump fences in the Greyhound stadium in Curraheen Park in Cork for the first time.
Ticket for the series are available from the IGB ticket line at 1890 269 969 or from horsesportireland.ie. They will cost €15 general admission, €10 OAP/Student, Children under 14 free if accompanied by an adult, €59.50 per corporate ticket, €220 for a table of four.