A host of top National Hunt jockeys will battle it out against the showjumpers later today (Saturday, 7 November) at Aintree racecourse.
Dual Grand National-winning jockey Leighton Aspell, Cheltenham Gold Cup victor Nico de Boinville and Barry Geraghty are set to line-up for the jockeys versus showjumpers challenge.
Aintree Equestrian Centre, which is adjacent to the racecourse grandstand, will be running a British Showjumping event alongside the day’s racing. The challenge will kick off at 4.45pm after the last race.
Two teams of jockeys, including 2009 Grand National winner Liam Treadwell, will go head-to-head with two showjumping teams — including eventer Hayden Hankey and young showjumper Holly Sharp.
The show’s sponsor, Creditas, will be donating funds to the Injured Jockeys Fund. The riders will have to tackle a course of 1m jumps against the clock. The last team member will have to jump a 1.20m joker fence — in an attempt to knock five seconds off their team’s time. Three seconds will be added for a pole down and the team coming home with the quickest time will take the title.
The raceday is an inaugural fixture in the jump racing calendar. During the feature race, the Betfred Hurdle, Nicky Henderson’s two stable stars Bobs Worth and Simonsig will do battle. The latter is making a return after a 970-day absence from the racetrack.
“We did this challenge five years ago and it was really fun to watch. With this being a new raceday for Aintree, it will be great to have two equine sports running alongside each other,” said Carly Goodall from Aintree Equestrian Centre.
“We have some brilliant names lined-up for it, so it should be entertaining and it is for a great cause. The show itself also has jumping classes up to 1.40m and we’ve been pleased with the number of entries. The showjumpers competing in the challenge are bringing along extra mounts for the jockeys to borrow.”