Show jumping enthusiasts can look forward to a new, top-flight show jumping event — The British Open Show Jumping Championships — in Sheffield next spring (24-27 April).
With a prize-fund of £150,000, the four-day show is expected to become one of the top indoor events of the equestrian calendar, alongside HOYS and Olympia
Grandstand Event Management Ltd, part of the company that has masterminded HOYS for the past six years, is organising the show at HallamFM Arena, the 8,300-capacity venue, formerly known as Sheffield Arena.
Director Mark Wein says: “We’re looking for a champion – we’ll be inviting the 12 best British show jumpers [from the BSJA official rankings at the end of December 2002] plus top riders from other countries. The maximum total will be 30 riders, and each rider can bring up to three horses and a puissance horse.”
The show runs from Thursday 24 to Sunday 27 April, comprising championship classes, mounted displays and a proposed national class, yet tobe confirmed. Additionally, a puissance with a prize fund of £12,000 will be held on the Saturday.
Yorkshire-based John Whitaker, who has been assisting the organisers in an advisory capacity, said: “I’m very pleased – this isgood for the north and good for show jumping.”
Di Lampard, Britain’s leading lady rider, said: “I think it’s fantastic news to get another show. In my eyes, they [Grandstand Event Management] saved HOYS. Hopefully, the competitors will work with them to make it a success.”
Grandstand Event Management has made a long-term commitment to the event, with an initial contract of up to five years. Television coverage with Eurosport is to be negotiated and 65,000 spectators can attend during the four days.
The box office opens this week with tickets costing £15-£35, with discounts for under-15s and senior citizens. For bookings (tel: 0114 256 5656) or for groups (tel: 020 8900 9282); or visit www.britishopenshowjumping.com