Entries are now open for the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting (21-25 June).
With national showjumping classes from 1m upwards, international showjumping including four World Ranking classes, showing championships and driving classes, there is something for everyone.
The climax to this five day show is, of course, the Hickstead Derby - sponsored for the first time by Al Shira'aa. The Hickstead Derby was first held in 1961 and since then the class has barely altered. Every year, a brave band of riders try to conquer the famous course, including the Devil’s Dyke, the double of ditches, one of the widest open water jumps in the world and the iconic 10ft 6in slope of the Derby Bank.
Last year’s winner William Whitaker will no doubt be hoping for a repeat win in this enthralling class, with the aptly-named Glenavadra Brilliant. But he’ll face some tough competition, including last year’s runner-up Harriet Nuttall and the dual 2014 and 2015 winner Trevor Breen.
The Al Shira’aa Derby build up begins with the Bunn Leisure Derby Tankard on Thursday, then riders must qualify for the main event during Friday’s Bunn Leisure Derby Trial. Saturday afternoon’s highlight is the British Speed Derby, where riders race round over fences including the road crossing, Irish bank and treble of single planks.
Showing is a major part of this show, with the final of the prestigious Tattersalls/RoR Thoroughbred Show Horse Championship held on the Sunday. There are classes for cobs, riding horses, small hunters, mountain and moorlands, ridden hunters and coloured horses, with many of the championships held on the hallowed turf of the International Arena.
Other equestrian highlights include scurry driving, carriage driving and the Celebrity Derby Challenge, held on Saturday night, when our leading showjumpers try their hands at a new sport.
Entries for the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting are online now.