Bob Champion and Geoff Billington on the line-up for Liverpool parade

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  • Grand National winner Bob Champion will head the launch parade for the upcoming Liverpool International Horse Show.

    Top showjumper Geoff Billington, carriage driver George Bowman and some of the Shetland ponies competing on the Shetland pony Grand National circuit will join Bob for the launch on 25 October.

    Joining them on the “ride into Liverpool” will be around 50 riders from nearby riding schools, including Croxteth Park, Beechley, Gellings and Knowsley Village, as well as some Pony Club members.

    “It promises to be a terrific launch to the event as riders of all ages combine on a ride into the city,” said show president Nina Barbour.

    This year marks 35 years since Bob won the 1981 Grand National on Aldaniti — two years after being diagnosed with cancer. His story was subsequently made into the film “Champions”, where Bob was portrayed by actor John Hurt.

    The parade will start at 11am in Liverpool’s Festival Gardens, before moving along Riverside Drive, through Salthouse Quay and ending at around noon at the ACC Plaza and Echo Arena.

    The four-star showjumping show, organised by the team behind Bolesworth, made its debut over the 2015-16 New Year and was well received by visitors, competitors and tradestand holders alike.

    The livestream also proved popular, with more than 85,000 playbacks and more than 500,000 minutes of action watched.

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    The 2016-17 event will be held at the Echo Arena from 31 December – 2 January and has a prize fund of £160,000.

    As well as showjumping, the event features a dressage display by Abi and Charlie Hutton, carriage driving from George Bowman, music from musical theatre boy band Collabro and Abba tribute band Revival, a Shetland pony Grand National and fire displays.

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