Hickstead calls time on Eventing Grand Prix

  • The popular Eventing Grand Prix will not take place at Hickstead this summer.

    The class — in which eventers and showjumpers go head-to-head over a range of coloured poles and fixed cross-country fences — is usually held on the Thursday of the Royal International Horse Show.

    But due to a change in television scheduling, Hickstead organisers have withdrawn the Eventing Grand Prix from the programme.

    “This year, Sky Sports will be filming the action from the Longines Royal International Horse Show from Friday onwards,” said Hickstead director Lizzie Bunn.

    “In the Amlin Plus Eventing Grand Prix, the horses and riders spend several minutes jumping the cross-country fences in the gardens of Hickstead Place, and without TV cameras to capture the action, the visitors watching live in the grandstands would be unable to follow what was happening.

    “Viewers will still be able to watch live action from a number of classes, including the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup, the Templant Events Queen Elizabeth II Cup and the Longines King George V Gold Cup.”

    The eventing grand prix was set up in 1998 by Hickstead founder Douglas Bunn, international showjumper Paul Schockemöhle and event rider Robert Lemieux.

    During the class riders had to tackle obstacles such as the side of the Derby bank, the Irish bank and the Devil’s Dyke. Any fences knocked down added 5 seconds to the rider’s time, with the fastest time winning.

    Pippa Funnell and The Tourmaline Rose won the 1st running of the class, and the pair won it twice more in 2000 and 2001.

    Michael Whitaker became the first showjumper to win the Eventing Grand Prix with Sir Dino in 2003.

    Eventer Gary Parsonage was the most successful rider in the class, winning in 1999 on Just So I and winning a further 3 times on great Peter Street (pictured).

    To book tickets for the Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby Meeting and the Longines Royal International Horse Show go to www.hickstead.co.uk or call 01273 834315.

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