A total of 20 event riders from four nations are set to take part in this year’s MS Amlin Eventers’ Challenge at the All England Jumping Course this Thursday. This hugely popular and competitive class will see some of the world’s best riders jump a unique cross-country course against the clock in the main International Arena.

Returning to Hickstead for this year’s competition are Austin O’Connor (IRL) on Zahiro Uit T Veld, hoping to improve on their 5th place last year, Paul Tapner (AUS) on Bonza King of Rouges, and Jeanette Brakewell(GBR) on Forever Red. Jeanette and her 10-year-old mare have had a highly successful season to date, finishing in the top twenty in the three-star class at both Chatsworth International and Bramham International.

The trio are likely to face tough competition from the highly experienced combinations of Christopher Burton (AUS), with his four-star performer TS Jamaimo, and Ireland’s Joseph Murphy on his London 2012 Olympic horse – Electric Cruise. A masterful rider to watch cross-country, Chris Burton and TS Jamaimo were third at Burghley in 2015, and finished 11th at last year’s four-star in Pau. Other highly talented riders due to compete are world famous Pippa Funnell on Billy Cuckoo and Italy’s Vittoria Panizzon.

Many of Hickstead’s most iconic obstacles will feature in this unique course of cross country fences, including the Derby bank, the main arena lake, the Devil’s Dyke, the road crossing, and the Irish bank. The course is a mix of fixed and non- fixed fences, and fences knocked down will add four seconds to the rider’s time.

David Ashby, Lead Underwriter Bloodstock of class sponsors, MS Amlin, said: “It is wonderful to see again such a great line up of international competitors for the MS Amlin Eventers’ Challenge. The International Arena at Hickstead is truly unique and I look forward to seeing how the riders tackle this year’s course. The best of luck to all competing.”

Photo credit: Craig Payne- Dan Jocelyn finishing 6th at the MS Amlin Eventers’ Challenge 2016

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