21 year-old Jade Hooke won a second Avis South African Derby title on her horse “A New Era” in a nail-biting televised finish last year after making her way into the record books two years earlier, becoming the youngest-ever rider to win at just 19. Photo: Supplied

It’s just days away from the equestrian fraternity’s most anticipated event, the 2012 Avis South African Derby, which takes place from 3-7 October 2012.

More than 13 000 spectators will pack the grand stands and the various marquees at Kyalami Equestrian Park in Johannesburg to watch the much anticipated showdown between the top equestrian riders in South Africa.

This year sees over 220 Adult Open horses and more than 70 riders competing to be one of the top thirty combinations making it to the ultimate Avis South African Showjumping Derby on the final day. And that is just in the showjumping category alone.

Not only do the riders compete for the coveted trophy in the thrilling 2012 Avis South African Derby, but other riders also vie for top honours in the Driving, Compleat Horse and Showing categories.

Hooke (pictured) will have stern competition in SA no. 2 and 2007 champ Lorette Knowles-Taylor, and the in-form KwaZulu Natal rider Jodi Pieters among her competitors, but she will make history with a third title if she wins again. Photo: SuppliedIn a nail biting televised finish last year, 21 year old Jade Hooke on her horse “A New Era” took the Avis South African Derby title and R65 000 grand prize. Already well-known to the world of show jumping, Hooke made her way into the record books two years earlier in 2009 when she became the youngest ever rider to win the Avis South African Derby at just 19.

In achieving her second win, Jade Hooke joined the ranks of show jumping legends Mickey Louw, Gonda Betrix and Barry Taylor, all riders who have won more than one Derby on the same horse. Top riders from all over South Africa will converge at the Derby once again this year for a shot at South Africa’s most wanted equestrian title.

Could Hooke make history and make a 3rd Derby title on A New Era? Ranked 2nd in SA is Lorette Knowles-Taylor who won in 2007, or is it the turn of the on-form KwaZulu Natal rider Jodi Pieters? All will be revealed on Derby day.

Key to the success and excitement of the Derby is the recurring track. The Sunday final is ridden over the same track each year with the Derby bank, dyke, water jump and challenging triple combination being the crowd favourites.

The theme for this years Sunday event is “In Black and White” and organisers are expecting attendees to the Sunday finals to really take heed of the theme and express themselves. Avis and VW are providing a free shuttle service from the parking areas to ensure that the patron’s finest is not exposed to excessive amounts of walking and that guests arrive at the main arena looking their best.

The 2012 Avis South African Derby will be held from 3rd to 7th October at Kyalami Equestrian Park. The equestrian festival spans a full 5 days.  Entrance from Wednesday to Friday is free and guests can enjoy the nailbiting action of all the preliminary rounds and qualifiers.  The event really comes to life from Saturday as families and friends descend on the grounds to take in the food, wine, entertainment and sport with Sunday remaining the pinnacle.

Saturday highlights:
* Children’s play and entertainment area featuring face painting, mechanical bull, jumping castles, clown shows and more
* Food village with 15 different flavours and varieties of food and from around the world set on a lovely deck under tents and umbrellas
* Shopping village with over 20 retail stores showcasing a wide variety of fashions and jewellery
* Exclusive GHS members area with private grand stand and cocktail lounge
* Large general access beer tent serving a variety of local beers to help quench the thirst
* Mini Show Jumping Derby (1.3m) and other top equestrian disciplines
 
Sunday highlights:
All of the highlights mentioned in Saturday above as well as:
* The South African Derby Marquee, a sit down lunch affair overlooking the main arena
* The Champagne Village where corporate clients and individuals looking for a more private entertaining environment can relax in private suites catering for up to 25 guests
* The 2012 Avis South African Derby driven by VW is South Africa’s most prestigious and premier equestrian title
* The finals of the Compleat Horse and Dressage Derbies.
* Parade of the Friesians, American Saddle horses and Miniature Ponies
* The official after party with performances by Goodluck and ChianoSky which kicks off in the Avis SA Derby Main Marquee from 6pm
 
Prices and packages:
* Saturday gate entry only R85 per person (includes parking, all public areas and grandstands are free seating)
* Sunday gate entry only R125 per person (includes parking, all public areas, no grandstand)
* Sunday prebooked grand stand seat from R200 –  R270 per person (includes parking, pre-allocated premium grandstand seat and all public areas)
* Sunday open grand stand seating R140 per person (includes parking, open unallocated grandstand seat and all public areas)
* Champagne Village private suites for 10 – 25 people from R25 000 per suite (5 exclusive suites available, Sunday only which includes private cash bar and waitresses, full canapes and lunch for up to 30 guests, VIP parking, all public areas and afterparty tickets for all guests)
* South African Derby Marquee Tickets R12 000 per table of 12 (includes table, full lunch, all public areas, VIP parking ticket and afterparty entrance for all guests. Sunday only)
* GHS Members Area, grand stand and KEP Club House  R450 per person (includes access to members area, R50 food voucher for Sunday, all public areas and parking ticket and is valid both Saturday and Sunday. GHS members only)
GHS Members Area, 3 Executive Allocated seat Grand Stands, 2 unallocated seating Grand Stand tickets and general access tickets are available through all Computicket outlets nationwide. 

 

For those who are unable to attend, all the sporting action will be broadcast live on SuperSport.

Tickets to the South African Derby Marquee are available exclusively through Sharlene Venter at the GHS office. eventing@ghsinfo.co.za or sharlene@icon.co.za  on 011 702 1657.

For more information contact eventing@ghsinfo.co.za or for media enquiries Lara at lara@youniqueconcepts.co.za or 021 433 0930.