The Box Office for Hickstead’s international shows has opened, with the organisers looking forward to a full return to competition for next summer.
The Covid-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of both the Derby Meeting and the five-star Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain for two years running. But now, following the return of crowds at large sporting events, the organisers are excited to announce that their premier fixtures will be running as usual.
“The past two years have been incredibly challenging, with our main events being cancelled,” says Hickstead’s executive director, Lizzie Bunn. “We were fortunate that we could run some events behind closed doors or in a reduced format, but we did miss our large-scale shows and especially our iconic classes. Now we are busy planning a spectacular return for both our international fixtures, starting off with the celebrations of the 60th running of the Al Shira’aa Derby.”
The Hickstead Derby, which has been sponsored by Al Shira’aa since 2017, is one of the oldest and most famous classes in showjumping. Many of the biggest names in the sport have won this class, including four-time winners Eddie Macken, Harvey Smith, William Funnell and Michael and John Whitaker. The most recent winner was Ireland’s Mikey Pender, who was just 19 years old and making his Derby debut when winning in 2019.
“The Al Shira’aa Derby is our busiest day of the year, with crowds flocking here to West Sussex to see who can conquer the fearsome course and be added to the roll call of champions,” says Lizzie. “This year will be the 60th running of the class, and we can’t wait to see who will lift the trophy in this important year.”
With few events running in 2020 and restrictions still applying last summer, it was decided to postpone the 60th running of the Derby until 2022. “It’s one class that people love to watch in person, and a full and enthusiastic crowd is part of what makes the Al Shira’aa Derby special,” Lizzie adds. “After a two-year hiatus we hope showjumping fans will be back in their droves for the return of the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting, which runs from 23 – 26 June.”
The following month Hickstead will welcome the return of five-star international competition with the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup at the Longines Royal International Horse Show (26-31 July).
“The Royal International includes some of the most prestigious classes anywhere in the world, including the Longines King George V Gold Cup and the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain, in which only the most elite riders take part,” says Lizzie. “It’s been two years since we’ve run these classes and every equestrian fan will be looking forward to them being back in their usual place in the showjumping calendar.”
With championship showing classes, a myriad of equestrian disciplines in action, a large shopping village, fun for all the family and a host of options for bars, restaurants and dining, Hickstead’s international shows are among the sporting and social highlights of the British summer season.
To encourage spectators to make the trip to the All England Jumping Course, an early bird discount of 10% applies to all tickets bought online. Under-15s attend free of charge every day of the season except Al Shira’aa Derby Day (when booked in advance), while general admission is free for everyone on Thursday 23 June.
Visit www.hickstead.co.uk to book.