SHOWJUMPER Ellen Whitaker reflected on a great contest at Hickstead.
She claimed her second Bunn Leisure Speed Derby at Hickstead in conditions totally different to her first win.
The 21-year-old golden girl of British show jumping rode a fantastic round on the little French-bred Henri De Herne to reduce the leading time by Alex Duffy and Iris Du Bateau by more than 6sec.
The main challenge looked as though it would come from Ellen’s younger brother Joe, who set off like a rocket on Trinity.
But when the bay said no at the bottom of the Derby Bank, the £4,500 prize was his sister’s.
“Last time it was knee deep in mud but this time the conditions were perfect.
“I was helped by Henri De Here, who had been around the course five or six times before”.
The story for runner-up Damien Griffin was totally different. His ride, Lysseygan Clover Diamond is his only horse, bought as a three year-old and now fifteen. The pair have won 22 Puissance competitions, eight of them bareback.
Michael Whitaker riding GIG Amai shared first place in the Falcon Equine Feeds Derby Trophy with Belgian Guido Hornesch and Concorde.
Whitaker said: “I couldn't work it out as I finished – I was seeing the same time on the board and thought I was seeing double”.
Hickstead also saw one of the best DFS Derby events many can remember.
Guy Williams from Kent with the plucky chestnut Softrack Skip Two Ramiro (Skippy) beat his British rival Tina Fletcher on the impressive bay Promised Land in a two horse jump off that saw both horses go clear for the second time in the competition.
Celebrating it’s 50th year, Tina Fletcher produced only the 51st clear round of the competitions history and it wasn’t until Guy, the last to go in the 38 strong field, matched her performance that the Derby saw it’s 52nd.
It meant a jump-off and Guy Williams and Skippy romped home clear by almost 16 seconds to secure the £40,000 first prize.
He said: “I’ve been aiming Skippy for the Derby having come joint runner up last year and even built a Devil’s Dyke at home as it’s the fence that’s caused me problems in the past.
“I watched Tina go and knew she’d left me a bit of breathing space in terms of time, felt confident that my horse could jump clear so decided to just go for it.
“I can’t tell you how great it feels for it all to have paid off”.
International Showjumping continues at Hickstead at the Royal International Horse Show which commences on July 28.
Friday, July 30, will see Team GB compete against nine other nations in the Meydan FEI Nations Cup.