Horse and pony - site index.Horse chat message boards.Horse breeds, types and breeding gallery.Search for horse information on Equiworld.Horse information and equestrian news horse and pony magazine.Horse web links.  

Robert Smith The Bookie's Favourite To Win Inaugural Ladbrokes Speed Jumping Challenge

Top seed Robert Smith, the UK’s number one ranked show jumper, will start as the bookies’ favourite to win the inaugural £20,000 Ladbrokes Speed Jumping Challenge - live on BBC Grandstand at Ascot Racecourse this Sunday (28.9.03).

Riding Kalusha, ranked 38th on the British Show Jumping Association’s (BSJA) horse seedings list, Smith has been quoted the 3/1 favourite by sponsors Ladbrokes ahead of 7/2 joint second favourites Nick Skelton (Pandur) and Keith Shore (Pakko), seeded second and third respectively.

The Ladbrokes Speed Jumping Challenge is the world’s first ever Speed Jumping event and will see sixteen of the UK’s leading show jumpers race each other in four straight, identical lanes of seven fences over approximately one-and-a-quarter furlongs of Ascot’s National Hunt Course. The winner of each race will be the first past the post with the fewest number of fences knocked down.

A hybrid of show jumping and thoroughbred racing, Speed Jumping is a whole new discipline for the country’s leading show jumpers, demanding a skilful balance of precision and speed. The concept was dreamt up by the BBC’s John Inverdale, brand image expert Simon Jameson, show jumper Nick Skelton and ex-horse trainer Charlie Brooks.

Nick Skelton, winner of 1252 international events over the last three decades, said: “The top riders are right behind this new sport and I really hope its takes off.

“A lot of thought and considerable time has been put into the planning of this inaugural event and we’ve received invaluable support from within both racing and show jumping, including the event sponsor Ladbrokes, Ascot Racecourse, the BBC, the BHB and Olympia. Speed Jumping should provide a great spectacle for TV viewers and race goers alike as the action will be fast-paced, entertaining, colourful and exciting. It’s not a gimmick, there’s prize money at stake, and the riders are taking it very seriously. It will be done properly and should provide a great boost for both show jumping and racing.

“From 2004 and beyond, we hope to stage further Speed Jumping events at race meetings around the country,” he added.

The Ladbrokes Speed Jumping Challenge will form part of the action at the Ascot Festival’s NSPCC Family Day this Sunday. The afternoon’s action will comprise four Heats of four starting at 13.15hrs, with the first two in each Heat progressing to the Semi-Finals at 15.45hrs and the best two in each Semi contesting the Final, to be shown live on BBC Grandstand, at 16:00hrs.

The riders are seeded one to sixteen, based on the aggregate BSJA ranking of rider and horse, and lane positions will be drawn at random. Lanes will be colour coded to make viewing easier for spectators.

In order of seeding, the full list of riders and horses is as follows with Ladbrokes odds in brackets (available until the start of the first heat on Sunday afternoon):

1. Robert Smith, Kalusha (3/1)
2. Nick Skelton, Pandur (7/2)
3. Keith Shore, Pakko (7/2)
4. Michael Whitaker, Haddon House Carlson (6/1)
5. Tim Stockdale, Fresh Direct Landed Gentry (10/1)
6. Mark Armstrong, Rex (12/1)
7. John Whitaker MBE, Petite Jolie (10/1)
8. Peter Charles, Mulligan (14/1)
9. Duncan Inglis, Lavaletto (20/1)
10. Damien Charles, Racal B (20/1)
11. Di Lampard, Leo Z (25/1)
12. Scott Smith, Landwind 19 (40/1)
13. Richard Davenport, Hors Bors Des Isles (33/1)
14. James Fisher, Socks (40/1)
15. Geoff Billington, Timbuctoo (33/1)
16. Chloe Bunn, Buddy Bunn (100/1)

Race Times:
Heats 1-4 13:15hrs – 13:35hrs
Semi Finals 15:45hrs – 15:55hrs
Final 16:00hrs


Find out more, visit the links page or find answers on the message board.