MITSUBISHI MOTORS, Cirencester are celebrating this week after scooping the Jacksons Eventing Award at the Animal Health Trust UK Equestrian Awards.

More than 400 prominent equestrian supporters attended the bash at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London last Thursday.

Mitsubishi were nominated by British Eventing, as well as the general public, and were awarded the prize for their long-standing contribution to eventing through the sponsorship of the Badminton Horse Trials.

Awards were presented in eight categories – Racing, Dressage, Show Jumping, Eventing, Equine Vet, Equine Scientific Achievement and Voluntary Service, along with a Special Award.

Mitsubishi are the first sponsor ever to win this award. Previous winners have included Pippa Funnell, Zara Phillips, Mary King and the GB Gold Medal Team of 2009.

Lance Bradley, managing director of Mitsubishi Motors in the UK said: “The winners of the awards are decided not only by a panel of judges, but also by votes from the public, so we are delighted that the work and support we put into Badminton is recognised by such a wide and appreciative audience.”

ATTENDANCE at Bath Racecourse has risen for the second consecutive year with the Lansdown course attracting a total crowd of more than 53,000 racegoers during the 2011 racing season.

This in an increase of nine per cent compared to 2010, despite reducing the amount of fixtures being staged.

Highlights for the course included a record crowd of over 6,000 on the 200th Anniversary Raceday in August.

STOW-ON-THE-WOLD trainer David Bridgwater is confident of a bold showing from The Giant Bolster in the £150,000 Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Bridgwater said: “The Paddy Power Gold Cup has been the plan for the last eight or nine months and I'm not going to divert now.

The Giant Bolster was recently fourth at Chepstow in a major handicap hurdle and the trainer said: “The race will have helped with his fitness, experience and confidence.”

Bridgwater has been happy with the six-year-old since his Welsh jaunt and reckons that he has a great chance on Saturday.

“The horse is flying at home and if he gets a clear round and jumps fluently, he'll win.”

TRAGEDY struck at the Rolex Showjumping World Cup qualifier at Verona in Italy when the reigning Olympic Gold medal-winning horse Hickstead collapsed and died after completing his final show jumping round.

Vets rushed to the scene when the 15-year old horse suffered a suspected heart attack.

Hickstead was owned and ridden by Canadian rider Eric Lamaze and last year the pair won individual bronze at the World Equestrian Games.

ONLINE bookmaker Sportingbet will be the title sponsor at this year’s three-day jump racing highlight at Newbury, The Winter Festival featuring the Hennessy Gold Cup.

The Sportingbet Winter Festival takes place on November 24, 25 and 26.

A total prize money fund of £410,500 will be on offer across the three days, with Sportingbet sponsoring nine of the 19 races including the whole of Saturday’s card bar the day’s feature race, the Hennessy Gold Cup.

A further highlight on this day is the Grade 2 Sportingbet Long Distance Hurdle, won last year by Big Buck’s, who remains unbeaten since returning to hurdling and is earmarked by champion trainer Paul Nicholls to line up in the race again this year.