Hickstead's 2020 season hit by coronavirus - but officials will save what they can
Hickstead bosses have been forced to call off one of their major showjumping events - but hope others later in the summer and autumn will still go ahead.
The Directors of the All England Jumping Course at Hickstead released an official statement today (Wednesday) regarding their forthcoming season, in response to the current coronavirus situation.
The Al Shira'aa Hickstead Derby Meeting, scheduled to take place from 24 to 28 June, has been postponed. The organisers hope it will be able to run in combination with their national show, the Science Supplements All England Jumping Championships, from 1 to 6 September, subject to approval from the relevant governing bodies.
At present, preparations for the Longines Royal International Horse Show (21 to 26 July 2020) are continuing, although this will be reassessed on an ongoing basis.
The All England Jumping Course at Hickstead was first opened in 1960, and this season it is due to celebrate its 60th anniversary.
The Hickstead statement said: "After considering the recent government announcements, we have had to make the difficult decision to postpone the Al Shira'aa Hickstead Derby Meeting, scheduled to take place 24 - 28 June. We are currently working towards combining it with our national show, the Science Supplements All England Jumping Championships, from 1 - 6 September, pending approval from British Showjumping and the FEI.
"The intention will be to merge classes from both events to include a number of age jumping championships alongside the Science Supplements Speed Derby and the 60th running of the Al Shira'aa Derby. The showing schedule will remain the same, i.e. classes running on the same days from Thursday to Sunday. A full schedule will be issued in due course. The popular Charles Owen Shopping Village will also relocate to the 3 - 6 September.
"The Hickstead office is now closed, but trade exhibitors, hospitality and ticket purchasers will be contacted directly by email with the option to either transfer to the new dates or receive a refund as per our terms and conditions.
"At present, we are continuing with preparations for the Longines Royal International Horse Show still planned for 21 - 26 July 2020. We will of course continue to monitor all sources of information. There will be some complications re qualified horses, but we may well run it along similar lines to the foot and mouth year of 2001. Basically, those already qualified will be accepted and then the classes will be opened up, with non-qualified entrants paying an increased entry fee.
"We wish to thank all of our sponsors, trade exhibitors, competitors and stakeholders for their continued support during this unprecedented time. We ask that you remain patient, and we will update you further when we have more information."
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