Toronto, Ontario â€“ As The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair prepares to celebrate its 85th anniversary, the world famous Royal Horse Show has an exciting line-up of equestrian action ready to thrill the Ricoh Coliseum crowds from November 2-11, 2007.
Opening weekend features include the Canadian Show Jumping Championship presented by Greenhawk, held Friday and Saturday, November 2 and 3, while the Kubota Cup National Final on Saturday evening will feature the best from the west taking on the elite of the east in a head-to-head show jumping match-up. Also on opening weekend, audience members will be treated to a ‘Royal first’ as Grammy and Juno award winning Canadian recording artist, Alannah Myles, performs live while Canada’s first couple of dressage, Neil and Cindy Ishoy, execute an intricate pas de deux musical freestyle.
On Tuesday, November 6, Good Crop Services Indoor Eventing will make its return to the Royal. Using a mix of portable cross-country obstacles and standard show jumping fences, this event is all about speed. While all members of Canada’s Silver Medal Eventing Team from this year’s Pan American Games have been invited, the Americans are also getting in on the action including double Pan Am Gold Medalist Karen O’Connor in her Royal debut.
The International Show Jumping division opens on Tuesday, November 6, and riders travel from near and far to compete at The Royal Horse Show. British favourites including Nick Skelton and Michael Whitaker will be looking to take home top prizes, but not without a fight from eight American challengers including Olympic Gold Medalists Beezie Madden and McLain Ward. Of course, the Canadians have the advantage of competing on home soil, and Pan Am Gold Medalist Jill Henselwood, eight-time Olympian Ian Millar, and the number seven ranked rider in the world, Eric Lamaze, don’t want the prize money to leave the country. Featured events include Wednesday’s $100,000 CN World Cup Grand Prix, Thursday’s National Steel Car Four-Bar Challenge, Friday’s Weston Canadian Open, and Saturday night’s sold-out grand finale, the $75,000 Ricoh Big Ben International Challenge.
The Royal has long been a showcase of world-class dressage, and this year it is proud to introduce the Canadian National Dressage Freestyle Championship with Canada’s top purse at stake. Jacqueline Brooks, Cindy Ishoy, Ashley Holzer and Gillian Sutherland will perform Musical Freestyles on Wednesday and Thursday, November 7 and 8, which are sure to dazzle the crowds and reinforce dressage’s popularity at The Royal.
The wildly popular Milestone’s Royal Carriage Racing Derby also makes its return this year. On the final Thursday, Friday and Saturday of The Royal, the four-in-hand teams will thrill audiences with their lightning speed and heart-pounding feats of bravery. Germany’s Michael Freund, always a crowd favourite, Harry de Ruyter of the Netherlands, and Canadian driving competitors, Eugene Hug and Deb Laderoute, will be fighting to cross the finish line first.
“We have a stellar line-up of competitors and events for this year’s Royal Horse Show, and advance ticket sales have been strong,” said John Dunlap, Chairman of The Royal Horse Show. “By combining the biggest names in equestrian sport with enthusiastic sold-out crowds, 85 years after opening our doors, The Royal Horse Show is bigger and better than ever.”
Over the course of the 10-day Royal Horse Show, $745,000 in prize money will be distributed and countless trophies, awards and ribbons will be handed out, making The Royal the most sought-after event of the season for competitors and audience members alike.
For more information on The Royal Horse Show and The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, please visit www.royalfair.org.