Hickstead threatened: Equestrianism

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The Nations Cup meeting at Hickstead has been cancelled because of a lack of sponsorship or other financial help, and the other two fixtures at Douglas Bunn's All-England Show Jumping Course are under threat.

"Even at this stage we hope that sponsors or aid may be found for the Royal International Horse Show [10-13 July] and the British Jumping Derby [14-17 August]," Bunn said. "If not I have to say, with great sadness, that the All-England Jumping Course, founded in 1960, will close for the 1997 season."

The British Nations Cup will now be held during the Royal Windsor Horse Show, which runs from 14 to 18 May, but it may not be possible to save the new series of four international team trials, two of which were due to take place at Hickstead.

The implications for British show jumping are gloomy. The international arena at Hickstead has been a wonderful showcase for the sport for 36 years, while the British Jumping Derby is widely regarded as the most exciting competition of the outdoor season. It is also one of the few show jumping contests which is still transmitted live on BBC television.

Fortunately, the Windsor show committee had already decided to re-establish international show jumping in this year's programme. Simon Brooks-Ward, the show director, already organises the Pavarotti Nations Cup in Italy on behalf of the Best Communication and Management Group who are underwriting the Windsor meeting.