This year’s Eventing Grand Prix is destined to be a nail-biting competition — five previous winners will all be contesting the coveted title. This unique head-to-head competition between show jumpers and eventers will take place at the Longines Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead on Thursday, 27 July.
Rolex Grand Slam winner Pippa Finnell, who has won the Ford Ranger Eventing Grand Prix title three times, will be joined by Gary Parsonage (winner 1999), Andrew Nicholson (winner 2002), Lucinda Fredericks (winner 2004) and Ireland’s Mark Kyle who won the event last year. British WEG squad members Daisy Dick and Sharon Hunt and Lifeguards captain Richard Waygood are also listed.
However, the eventing contingent are to be challenged by a world-class line-up of show jumpers, determined to confirm their superiority. In the competition’s eight-year history, Michael Whitaker is the only show jumper to have clinched the title, in 2003.
Michael and brother John have both been invited again and Ben Maher, winner of this year’s Speed Derby and 2005 double Derbies winner has also accepted his invitation.
There has been only one change to this year’s course, which starts and finishes in Hickstead’s International Arena. Course designer Robert Lemieux has “beefed up” the hedge, which with a ditch is the first obstacle as horses head out into the phase that includes eight cross-country fences. “It needs to be a more inviting obstacle,” Lemieux explained, “It will now be more like Beechers!”
For more information or to book tickets for the Royal International Horse Show please visit www.hickstead.co.uk