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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Hickstead heralds a new dawn as Al Shira’aa take on sponsorship of the Derby

Saturday 18 March 2017

One of the most iconic showjumping classes in the world has gained a new headline sponsor, with Al Shira’aa taking over as the title sponsor of the Hickstead Derby. 

The Al Shira’aa Derby will take place on the afternoon of Sunday 25 June 2017, with the class forming the finale of the four-day CSI4* Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting (22-25 June).

To mark this important new sponsorship, a new video has been created to showcase the upcoming Al Shira’aa Derby. Filmed and produced by Equine Productions, the video looks back over the extraordinary 57-year history of the Hickstead Derby, a class in which both horse and rider become legends.

The film features three former Hickstead Derby winners – three-time champion William Funnell (2006, 2008 and 2009), two-time winner Trevor Breen (2014 and 2015) and the reigning Derby champion William Whitaker, who won for the first time in 2016. In the video, the riders explain why the showground is so special and what it meant to them to win the Derby.

Many of the Derby’s most memorable moments are included in the launch film, including Eddie Macken’s incredible four wins on Boomerang, and footage of the first female winner, Pat Smythe, from back in 1962.

Al Shira’aa Stables LLC was founded by Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the company is dedicated to the support and promotion of all horses and equestrian sports.

Based in the heart of Abu Dhabi, with various other locations throughout the world, the five-star facilities of Al Shira'aa Stables provide a unique home for many types of horses, from youngstock to broodmares, and top competition horses to those who are enjoying their retirement.  The company encourages horse riders in different equestrian sports, globally as well as in the United Arab Emirates.

The Hickstead sponsorship will not be the first experience of world-class equestrian events for Al Shira’aa.  In January this year the Al Forsan International Sports Resort in Abu Dhabi hosted the first Al Shira’aa International Horse Show, which offered UAE and international riders the opportunity to qualify for the 2018 World Equestrian Games. 

While the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby deal is for a preliminary three-year period, it is expected that the collaboration between Al Shira’aa and the Bunn family will flourish and continue.
“We are so pleased to announce Al Shira’aa as the new title sponsor of the Derby,” said Hickstead Director Lizzie Bunn. “Sponsors are the lifeblood of our sport and without the generosity of companies like Al Shira’aa the sport simply could not exist. The Hickstead Derby was first held in 1961 and has retained its popularity and status for nearly six decades – we’re very excited that Al Shira’aa will be part of its future.”

Thomas O’Brien, UK Supervisor for Al Shira’aa, commented: “We are absolutely delighted to be supporting this iconic and thrilling equestrian event. The Sheikha is a keen and enthusiastic horse rider herself, and it is the love of horses that drives her ambition to develop and influence this sport. What better way of supporting this ambition than the sponsoring of one of the most famous show jumping events in the world?”

Kate Moisson, UK Project Manager for Al Shira’aa, added: “Our passion and support of all equestrian sports are further underlined by our commitment to the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby. We are very excited about the forthcoming show and working with the Bunn family, and the Hickstead team, going forward.”

Tickets for the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting are on sale now at The class will be broadcast online throughout the world on Hickstead.TV

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