Major showcase for Britain’s young horses moves to prestigious new home with £80,000 prize pot

  • The move of the showjumping British Young Horse Championships to Hickstead is a boost for British breeders, the venue said.

    The event will run at the West Sussex showground from 9 to 12 August, with a prize fund of nearly £80,000. It will feature qualifiers and finals for four-, five-, six- and seven-year-olds, with extra prizes sponsored by British Showjumping (BS) for the top five British-bred horses in each final, and bonuses for horses who jump clear all week.

    “We are really pleased to be the new hosts of this prestigious championships, which will be a showcase for the very best of young showjumping horses in this country,” said Hickstead director Lizzie Bunn. “While there are a few other open classes at this show, ranging from 1.10m up to a 1.40m grand prix, the focus is very much on our young horse classes and celebrating the up-and-coming equine talent in this country.”

    The age finals will also be the UK qualifiers for the World Breeding Championship for Young Horses in Lanaken, Belgium, in September.

    Riders in the Prestige Italia six-year-old championship will compete for the Big Star Trophy, awarded in honour of Nick Skelton’s 2016 Olympic champion. Any horse who jumps triple clear in one of the four Big Star qualifiers between May and July will be eligible for the £1,000 Big Star bonus, which will be awarded in the final to the highest placed eligible horse.

    BS chief executive Iain Graham said: “The Prestige Italia six-year-old championship is one of the most important championships in this country for young equine stars.

    “We are delighted that the final will form part of the British Young Horse Championships in its new home at Hickstead.”

    Hickstead hero William Funnell is to sponsor the Billy Stud Auction five-year-old championship and award £5,000 prizes for the highest-placed horse bought in a Billy Stud auction in the four- and five-year-old finals.

    “As a breeder, shows like the Hickstead Young Horse Championships are invaluable for producing young horses and highlighting their abilities,” he said. “Having chaired the committee that established and spearheaded these championships, 15 years ago, I think the move to Hickstead is an excellent choice.”

    Al Shira’aa, title sponsor of the Hickstead Derby, has naming rights for the four-year-old final.

    “We are happy to support the four-year-old championship at the first ever young horse championships at Hickstead. We at Al Shira’aa thoroughly enjoy the production of young horses and look forward to being a part of this event,” said Alicia MacDonald, director of Al Shira’aa Farms.

    Chloe Breen of Breen Equestrian, which is sponsoring the seven-year-old final, added: “Breeding future superstars has always been the goal of Breen Equestrian, and as such we are delighted to sponsor the British Seven Year Old Championship at its new home, here at Hickstead.”

    Admission and parking is free for the show, and entries open in July.

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