Major boost for Derby prize fund

  • The world-renowned DFS Derby at the All England Jumping Course at Hickstead is now worth £90,000 — up from last year’s £75,000.

    The competition, which takes place on the last day of the British Jumping Derby Meeting, has been running for the past 44 years. The challenging course includes the infamous Derby bank as well as the notorious Devil’s Dyke and has been described as the ultimate test for horse and rider.

    Last year’s class, which was also sponsored by furniture giant DFS, was won by John Whitaker, who is now aiming to become the first rider to record five victories in this annual classic.

    The famous 10ft 6ins Derby Bank has been modified this year to ease the slope of the descent. The obstacle had remained unchanged for more than 30 years. The bottom of the slope has now been advanced to 7ft 6ins from the vertical, instead of the traditional 6ft, to make it more “horse friendly”.

    The Bunn family, who own Hickstead, had been considering modifying the 1969 Bank for some time and claim their decision wasn’t linked to last year’s accident, when Geoff Luckett’s GG Barock broke an off-hindleg and had to be put down.

    “When it was built in the 1960s, many horses were educated in the hunting field and were no stranger to obstacles such as this. Today their preparation is much more specialised and we decided to keep up with progress and make the change,” explains Douglas Bunn.

    The British Jumping Derby meeting opens its four-day run on 18 August and the DSF Derby will take place on 21 August.

    Free tickets and lunch at the RIHS

    Super League Nations’ Cup sponsor Samsung is offering supporters free tickets to the Royal International Horse Show, including grandstand seats and lunch.

    The day will include a parade in the International Arena during the official course walk, lunch and reserved grandstand seating. Supporters will also take part in their nation’s flag cascade, when huge montage flags are unfurled and passed through the crowd as each team enters the arena for the Parade of Nations. Each group will have a cheerleader from the K-BIS Theatre School based in Brighton.

    Supporters of the winning nation will each get a Samsung Yepp MP3 player and their photographs taken with the team.

    To register, supporters of any of the countries taking part should log on to the Samsung Super League Supporters website (www.sslsupporters.com) before 6pm on July 20.

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