Royal International rescue
Saturday 19 April 1997
The Royal International Horse Show, which was under threat of closure, will take place at Hickstead as scheduled from 9 to 13 July. Support has come from Paul Schockemohle and Dr Kaspar Funke, owners of the PST Group in Germany, writes Genevieve Murphy.
Douglas Bunn, the owner of the All-England Showground which he founded at Hickstead in 1960, will also be supporting the show - despite the advice of his accountant who told him that he should stop being "the Paul Getty of show jumping".
"I went to see Paul [Schockemohle] in Dusseldorf on Tuesday and we both decided that we should go ahead," Bunn said yesterday. Their support means prize-money of pounds 85,000 for the international contests will be double that on offer last year.
Schockemohle, Germany's former European show jumping champion and the winner of the Hickstead Derby on three occasions, said that he was looking "to the good of the sport". He already runs a major show jumping meeting at Bremen.
This is not the first time that the Royal International, which began in 1909 and is Britain's oldest horse show, has been under threat. In 1991, the Sports Council agreed to underwrite it to the tune of pounds 75,000.
The two long-established competitions - the King George V Gold Cup for men and the Queen Elizabeth II Cup for women - will be televised as both were on the BBC schedule before the sponsorship problems were announced.
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