The 2021 Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby meeting has been cancelled and will be replaced with a national show over the same dates (23-27 June), owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
There will be no international jumping, but there will be national classes from British novice to grand prix along with the usual showing and carriage driving.
Hopes remain for limited public attendance and a “boutique selection” of tradestands, with more details closer to the time.
“This has been a very tough decision, but the Derby is more than just a showjumping competition, it is an occasion where a full and enthusiastic crowd plays its part,” said Hickstead director Lizzie Bunn.
“With the uncertainty over permitted attendance, as well as other restrictions that we face, we are concentrating all our efforts on running a major five-day national show instead. We would like to thank Al Shira’aa and all our stakeholders for their continued support during this challenging time.”
This is the second time the Hickstead Derby has been cancelled since its inception in 1961. It was also cancelled last year, again owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The meeting normally attracts around 40,000 people across the five days and organisers have said while the rollout of the vaccine and recent Government announcements have been encouraging, the situation “remains fragile and unpredictable”.
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The replacement show, the Al Shira’aa Jumping Championships, will feature seven rings of competition, including the Longines International Arena.
The highlights will be the Al Shira’aa Trophy, a 1.40m Grand Prix with a £15,000 prize fund, as well as the Al Shira’aa age championships.
Competitor entries will open in April, and there will also be Horse of the Year Show showing qualifiers and the final of the Retraining of Racehorses’ Tattersalls Show Horse series.
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