Robert Smith, winner of the World Cup qualifier at Olympia and the grand prix in Zurich last month, heads the line-up of British riders invited to compete at the British Open Show Jumping Championships in Sheffield from 24-27 April.
He will be joined by Michael and John Whitaker, Tim Stockdale, Richard Davenport, Andrew Davies, Robert Whitaker, Di Lampard, William Funnell, Scott Smith, John Renwick and Mark Armstrong, who fill the top 12 places on the 2002 rankings list.
Although just outside the top 12, Nick Skelton has alsobeen invited to compete.
“Nick is a rider whom the show jumping audience would expect to see at the show,” explains Mark Wein, director of Grandstand Media, organiser of the Sheffield event and also the Horse of the Year Show. “He has alsobeen a great supporter of the Horse of the Year Show, so we felt it was appropriate to invite him.”
The British competitors will be challenged by a number of overseas riders, who will compete for the title of British Open Champion and a £160,000 prize fund.
Franke Sloothaak and Helena Weinberg from Germany, Marcus Fuchs and Dehlia Oeuvray from Switzerland, Dutch trio Roelof Bril, Angelique Hoorn and Matthias van Asten, Belgians Ludo Phillipaerts and Francois Mathy Jnr, Geir Gullikson from Norway and Ireland’s Peter Charles and reigning World Champion Dermott Lennon have all been invited to take part.
Placings in the week’s classes will accrue points to decide the final 20 riders who will contest the main competition, which carries a first prize of £25,000, on Sunday, 27 April.
A programme of displays headlined by the Household Cavalry will back up the show jumping action.
Tickets cost from £15 to £35 – half-price for children and senior citizens – contact the box office (tel: 01142 565656) or visit: www.britishopenshowjumping.com