Top Irish jockey and Grand National winner Robbie Power will be making his eventing debut at Hickstead next week at the Amlin Plus Eventing Grand Prix.
Robbie Power, who won the Grant National on Silver Birch in 2007, will be joining a stellar line-up of riders for the Eventing Grand Prix at Hickstead on Thursday 19 July 2012.
Robbie is one of the top jump jockeys in Ireland. Before switching to horse racing, Robbie was a professional showjumper and is a former Young Rider European gold medalist.
At the Amlin Plus Eventing Grand Prix, Robbie and his fellow competitors will face a course of showjumps at Hickstead. After this, they will jump out of the International Arena and go round a series of cross-country fences in the gardens of Hickstead. Then, it’s back into the arena to tackle some of Hickstead’s most famous fences, including the Derby bank and the Irish bank.
Robbie’s sister Elizabeth is a top event rider, and he will be borrowing her horse Doonaveeragh O One for the class.
Robbie said: “The horse I’ll be competing on is an ex-eventer of hers [Robbie’s sister’s]- last year she competed him in this class and I thought this year I’d have a go!
“I hope I’ll do well – he’s a three-star eventer with plenty of experience. It’s an event that I’ve always wanted to have a go at – it looks a lot of fun to do.”
While Robbie may be more used to jumping hurdles or steeplechase fences these days, he has been getting a bit of practice in over showjumps recently. “I’ve been doing plenty of shows in Ireland on days when we haven’t had any racing, to get my eye in, and I’d like to think that I’ll do racing proud,” he said.
He will have some tough rivals to face though. Among those due to line up for the eventers are Olympic team members Andrew Nicholson (NZL) and Mark Kyle (IRE), Rolex Grand Slam winner Pippa Funnell, Badminton and Burghley winner Oliver Townend, plus some of the brightest young eventing talents in Britain: Georgie Spence, Emily Llewellyn and Laura Collett.
In showjumping, Trevor Breen brings top horse Adventure De Kannan – the winner of last month’s Bunn Leisure Speed Derby – while Harriet Nuttall and Nicole Pavitt both excel at jumping round Hickstead’s main arena at speed and could be in with a great chance.
The Amlin Plus Evening Grand Prix will start at 3pm on Thursday 19 July, with TV coverage starting an hour earlier on Sky Sports 4.
Photo of last year's Amlin Plus Eventing Grand Prix winner, Gary Parsonage, by Sam Lamb