Racecourse To Host First Ever Speed Jumping Event
jumping and thoroughbred racing will join forces for the first time
ever on Sunday 28th September as Ascot Racecourse witnesses the
birth of a brand new equine sport, Speed Jumping.
inaugural event, the £20,000 Ladbrokes Speed Jumping Challenge,
will see sixteen of the UKs top show jumpers - including Nick
Skelton, Robert Smith and Michael and John Whitaker - race each
other over four straight, identical lanes of seven fences over a
distance of approximately 500 yards. The winner of each race will
be the first past the post with the fewest fences down. The afternoons
action will comprise four Heats of four, with the first two in each
Heat progressing to the Semi-Finals and the best two in each Semi
contesting the Final.
concept of Speed Jumping was dreamt up by John Inverdale, one of
the countrys leading sports broadcasters, Simon Jameson, a
brand image expert used by companies such as Channel Four and Hutchinson,
Nick Skelton one of the UKs most successful show jumpers,
and Charlie Brooks, ex-horse trainer turned media pundit.
have to become more broadcaster friendly if they want to grow and
develop, said Inverdale. I can remember a time when
show jumping received huge television audiences and was a regular
fixture on our television screens. Over the course of the past decade,
coverage of the sport has reduced considerably and I am very hopeful
that we can rekindle that audiences passion and interest with
the launch of Speed Jumping.
inaugural Speed Jumping event will form part of the entertainment
at the NSPCC Family Day on the Sunday of the 2003 Ascot Festival.
The four Heats will commence at 13.15 and will be completed before
the first flat race of the afternoon. The Semi-Finals will take
place immediately following the second race on the racecard, beginning
at 14.35. The Final, to be shown live on BBC Television, will take
place at 16.00 followed by the prize presentation at 16.20 - also
to be broadcast live. Highlights of the Heats and Semi-Finals will
precede the live transmission of the Final.
Speed Jumping course will be built over the last furlong of the
National Hunt course with colour coded lanes to enable spectators
and TV viewers to easily identify each riders progress. A
whole new discipline and an exciting new challenge for the countrys
leading show jumpers, not only will they have to be aware of what
they are doing, but they will also have to be aware of how the other
three competitors are progressing and react accordingly.
riders will be seeded one to sixteen, based on the aggregate ranking
of rider and horse, and lane positions will be drawn at random prior
to each race.
Jumping has received tremendous support from within all areas of
the equine world with Ascot Racecourse, the BBC, the British Horseracing
Board, Ladbrokes and Olympia all showing a great deal of faith in
the pilot event.