New Year, new home! The Blue Chip Winter Show Jumping Championships will continue with their unique brand of traditions and atmosphere at Addington Equestrian Centre

Tuesday 02 April 2024

New Year, new home!  The Blue Chip Winter Show Jumping Championships will continue with their unique brand of traditions and atmosphere at Addington Equestrian Centre

The hugely popular Blue Chip Winter Show Jumping Championships moves to its new venue at Addington Equestrian Centre, Buckinghamshire, in 2024, marking its fourth home since the show’s inception at the National Equestrian Centre’s indoor arena, Stoneleigh Park, 33 years ago.

Now, after being based at Solihull Riding Club, West Midlands, and Hartpury College, Gloucestershire, in the interim years, the Blue Chip Winter Show Jumping Championships celebrates Addington as its new home.

A similar layout to the previous years at Hartpury College is expected with the organisers aiming to maintain the unique traditions and atmosphere.  This includes the long-established Friday night Gala Performance, the entertainment featuring a Master Class with the humorous and congenial Olympian Geoff Billington, who will regale stories and informative, helpful tips on training and producing the showjumper.

The Blue Chip Grand Prix will conclude the evening’s entertainment as riders vie for glory and the £2,000 first prize.  The established PRB Horseboxes Championship Bonus is another incentive in the Grand Prix – and now carries a £2,000 prize fund.  The bonus is on offer to any rider placed first, second or third in the Blue Chip Pro Challenge Trophy who proceeds to win the Blue Chip Grand Prix.  It’s a big but not impossible ask – the bonus has only been won once, with Jay Halim the overjoyed recipient.  And Jay is hoping to repeat his feat this year.

The championship timetable also runs on identical lines to previous years with Championship Finals taking place in the Seaver Championship Indoor Arena alongside warm-up classes.  The Espayo Outdoor All-Weather Arena will run last-chance qualifying classes and supporting classes.

After the unprecedented wet weather Great Britain has experienced of late, riders and their connections will be delighted to hear of improvements at Addington Equestrian Centre.  New hardstanding areas for parking an extra 100 horseboxes plus hardstanding and drainage for up to 290 temporary stables has been completed for the five-day championship show.

The Championship Finals themselves draw competitors from far and wide, with several previous winners looking to retain titles or add another championship victory to their tally.  One rider who immediately springs to mind is Emma-Jo Slater, winner of many Blue Chip titles over the years, starting with the Novice Horse Final back in the Stoneleigh years.  The Blue Chip Winter Show Jumping Championships have been an aim for Emma-Jo and Kimba Farm Stud owner Kim Barzilay and the only two Championships that have eluded the winning duo is the Blue Chip Dynamic B and C and Windmill Farm Estates 1.25m.  That could change this year. 

“We love the Blue Chip Championships – it is part of our young horses’ education and we always bring some new home-bred babies each year,” said Kim.

Emma-Jo is again in with a chance in the Bliss of London Novice Championship with Kim’s home-bred Kimba Star Time and Kimba Luidun while other home-breds Kimba Castello and Kimba Flamenco jump in the bigger classes.  Emma-Jo has a busy week ahead as she defends her WB Equiline Star Championship, also contending the Blue Chip Joint RLF Power Championship, the Joshua Jones UK Discovery Championship, the Blue Chip Karma Performance Championship, the Blue Chip Dynamic B and C and the Windmill Farm Estate 1.25m Championship.

Angie Thompson is another contender keen to add to her Blue Chip tally.  She accumulated a hat-trick of wins last year and will attempt to retain her titles in the Blue Chip Karma Performance and Dynamic B and C Championships.

Former Blue Chip Grand Prix and £2,000 Bonus winner Jay Halim will be in it to win it but will be up against some tough opposition in the form of Sandy McLean, Joe Trunkfield, 2014 Hickstead Derby winner Phillip Miller and Phoebe Farman – who hopes to follow in the footsteps of her mother Tracy Priest, 2013 Blue Chip Grand Prix winner on Calle.   

In the pony championships and fresh from her Pony of the Year Show 1.10m win,2023 double victor Katie Bradburne has two chances to retain her Blue Chip Pro Sparkle JC/JA title and another chance in the Bliss of London Pony Coral Championship. 

Katie has competition in rivals Sienna Palin, Bliss of London Pony Sapphire champion in 2023, who will defend her title and target the Pony Coral Final while 2023 Eskadron Pony Discovery winner Orla Sweetnam is another hoping for a winning return.

For those that cannot attend in person, livestreaming of the whole event – both in the Seaver Championship Arena and the Espayo Outdoor Arena – is available.  Watch for free on https://www.britishequestriansport.tv/Home/Index – found on British Showjumping website at: https://www.britishshowjumping.co.uk/ or tune in at: https://www.clipmyhorse.tv/en_GB/#   

Image credit Hoofprints

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