The directors of the All England Jumping Course, Hickstead have made the difficult decision to cancel the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting for 2021, due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation.
The international fixture will be replaced by a national show, the Al Shira’aa Jumping Championships, to run on the same dates (23-27 June). While there will be no international showjumping, there will be a range of jumping classes from British Novice to Grand Prix level as well as the usual showing and carriage driving classes that form part of the June fixture.
The Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting is one of the most iconic showjumping events in the international calendar, culminating in the Al Shira’aa Derby – a class that was first held in 1961. Normally around 40,000 people attend across the five days of the show.
The meeting was cancelled in 2020, which was the first time the class had not run since its inception. The decision to miss a second year has been a very disappointing one, but despite the encouraging Government announcements and rollout of the vaccine, the situation still remains fragile and unpredictable at this time.
The replacement event, the Al Shira’aa Jumping Championships, will see seven rings of competition run throughout the show, including the Longines International Arena. The highlights will be the Al Shira’aa Trophy, a 1.40m Grand Prix with a £15,000 prize fund, as well as the Al Shira’aa age championships. There will be a number of HOYS qualifying showing classes, plus the final of the RoR/Tattersalls Show Horse series.
Hickstead Director Lizzie Bunn commented: “This has been a very tough decision, but the Derby is more than just a showjumping competition, it is an occasion where a full and enthusiastic crowd plays its part. With the uncertainty over permitted attendance, as well as other restrictions that we face, we are concentrating all our efforts on running a major five-day national show instead. We would like to thank Al Shira’aa and all our stakeholders for their continued support during this challenging time.”
The plan is to run the event with limited public attendance, along with a boutique selection of tradestands, but full details will be confirmed nearer the time.
Competitor entries will open in April at www.hickstead.co.uk.