At the age of just 20, Irish showjumper Michael Duffy has already got two All England Grand Prix wins under his belt – and this week he returns to Hickstead in the hope of making it a hat-trick.
The £6,000 1.40m Grand Prix forms the finale of the All England Jumpinc Championships from Thursday to Sunday this week inclusive ( September 3-6, ), a prestigious national competition that also marks the end of Hickstead’s showjumping season. The show was first held in 2011 and has grown to become a firm favourite fixture in the showjumping calendar.
Michael’s first win in the All England Grand Prix came on board Westland Ruby in 2013, while last year he won the feature class on the 18hh Iron Lady III. He is the only rider to have won the class more than once, while Tim Davies and Trevor Breen both have one win apiece.
A number of top riders have entered this year’s All England Jumping Championships, including Trevor and Shane Breen, Harriet Nuttall, Phillip Miller, William Funnell, David Simpson, Nicole Pavitt and Alice Watson.
“It’s wonderful to be able to welcome back so many of the riders who have been so successful at Hickstead over the years,” says Hickstead Director Lizzie Bunn. “We have a number of former Hickstead Derby winners, including reigning victor Trevor Breen, three-time winner William Funnell and the 2013 champion Phillip Miller.
“Alice Watson is another one to watch at this show, having won the Tom Hudson Derby Trophy back in June. Harriet Nuttall has had a superb season here at the All England Jumping Course, just missing out on victory in the Equestrian.com Derby and finishing second in three other major classes this year, so hopefully she’ll be able to go one better at this show.”
The All England Jumping Championships have classes for all levels from 1m upwards, with championship classes for young horses and amateur riders. As well as the 1.40m All England Grand Prix, other highlights of the show include the Douglas Bunn Challenge, a 1.35m class featuring a number of Hickstead’s permanent obstacles – making it a perfect introduction for a future Equestrian.com Derby star.
The show’s generous class sponsors include Bunn Leisure, Equitop Myoplast, Animo, Harrington Horses, the Brendon Stud, Pro-Am Sport Horses, while the official ring sponsors are Jacksons Fencing, Petplan Equine, Airowear and Alexanders Horseboxes.
Spectators are welcome at this show, and entry and parking is completely free. As well as a full schedule of showjumping classes, there are a number of bars, restaurants and eateries to choose from, as well as a selective shopping village. For results, start lists and timetables, visit www.hickstead.co.uk
The All England Jumping Championships mark the end of Hickstead’s own competition season, but there’s still a very busy Autumn ahead. On September 12 – 13 the showground hosts a huge two-day concert called Boomerang Hockstead, with stars like Jessie J, The Vamps, Simple Minds, The Proclaimers and lots more taking to the stage in the famous International Arena.
Hickstead will also play host to the UK Sundshine Tour finals on September 19 – 20 September, a hugely popular unaffiliated championships that are being held at the showground for the first time.