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Future Stars Get Their Chance To Savour Hickstead Derby Thrills

New Pony Masters is Europe's richest prize for juniors

The best riders in the world and the youngsters with ambitions to take their place. It's all there as part of the entertainment at this year British Jumping Derby Meeting (August 14-17) - in the established and acclaimed British Jumping Derby itself and the launch of the unique Hickstead Pony Masters.

Many of the best riders in the world have already won the Derby, and a lot more still have it in their sights. It takes a great rider and a brave and powerful horse to negotiate the 1,195-metre course and obstacles like the three-element Devil's Dyke and the almost perpendicular slope of the 10ft 6ins Derby Bank.

But this year attention will be split between this class and the Hickstead Pony Masters, a new competition offering junior riders and their ponies their chance to compete in the famous International Arena. The £2,500 first prize is a little short of the Derby's £20,000, but it's still Europe's richest pot for their up-to-16 age group.

"It's a really amazing opportunity for these young people to experience the occasion and savour the atmosphere in the International Arena," said Hickstead owner Douglas Bunn. "Most of them will have the British Jumping Derby as an ambition and some of them will make it."

And there's a bonus in both classes. In the Pony Masters it will be to receive their prizes from last year's Derby winner, Peter Charles, and in the Derby itself if this year's winner has been placed third or better in the Falsterbo or Hamburg Derbys, he or she will take home an extra £50,000 and the H&M Trophy.

But the benefits don't stop there. This year's British Jumping Derby is also the British round of the Riders Tour and could help a rider towards a share of the massive £460,000 prize fund later in the year.

Hickstead is the fifth leg of this nine-round competition and the only one outside Germany. Riders have to compete in six of the point-earning rounds, with the result announced at Munich in November.

The four-day British Jumping Derby Meeting's international classes start on Thursday with the Alberta Canada Salver and the Hickstead Derby Tankard, with the Osborne Refrigerators Derby Trial on Friday. Saturday sees the Hasseroeder Trophy and the popular Hasseroeder Speed Derby.

Six rings will be in operation through all four days, when the programme also includes national and pony showjumping as well as showing classes for Cobs, Hacks, Hunters, Riding Horse, coloured horses and Mountain and Moorland.


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