The Sunday Mail
IT’S no coincidence that Africa’s oldest showjumping event makes its return on Africa Day. For four years, showjumping lovers in Zimbabwe have been starved off action in this equestrian sport. But the wait is over. The Chinhoyi Derby, which is the world’s second oldest showjumping event, comes to life this Friday and runs until Sunday at Chinhoyi Show Grounds.
“We decided to bring this show back on this particular weekend to recognise Africa Day. With the Chinhoyi show being the oldest derby in Africa that is a special tribute in itself,” disclosed Sean Bruss, one of the organisers.
Over 100 horses and a dozen international riders are expected to participate in this 54th edition of the derby.
“We have riders from Zambia and DRC competing and we could not be any prouder. We have managed to bring African countries together for such a special event,” Bruss added.
“It has been three years of planning and many months of work building up to the show. We have closed our entries. The competition will start on the Friday, we have smaller rounds to help the horse and rider get a feel for the arena and as the weekend goes on the tracks get longer and harder building up to the grand finale.”
Bruss lauded the commitment of the organising committee, that includes Rachael Rouse, Katie Stock and Zaria Rutter.
“This has been a long time in the making and whilst there is a lot of visible work that goes into it — all the refurbishment of the stands, arena, building of new stables, repairs on the buildings — there is also a lot of work that happens behind the scenes,” he said.
Theresa Rutter is coming back this year as three-time winner before the hiatus in 2013, while Celeste Wright, who came second in 2013, also counts among the Derby favourites.