Hickstead SJ/Showing: Friday update

By: Horse Deals

Hickstead SJ/Showing: Friday update
Michael Whitaker wins the Bunn Leisure Derby Trial with GIG Amai
Michael Whitaker gave a show jumping masterclass on day two of this year’s Hickstead Derby meeting. Michael chose the Bunn Leisure Derby Trial to give GIG Amai his first look at the famous Derby fences and Beatrice Mertens�� 10-year-old son of Nonstop produced two stunning rounds to capture the £6,000 prize.

Although Amai jumped in the World Cup final and was on Britain’s Super league team in St Gallen, Michael admits that he is still short of big ring experience.
"He’s also had some time off after getting a slight injury in St Gallen," explained the Yorkshireman. "He pulled off a shoe and was lame when he came out of the ring. A scan showed a slight mark on a tendon, so he had to be rested."
Michael won’t jump Amai in Sunday’s Derby.
"I’m still hopeful that I might make the World Games team and doing a Derby probably wouldn’t be the ideal preparation. He’s giving me the best feel ever, so I’ll keep him for teams and grand prix for the moment," explained Michael, who complimented the Hickstead staff on their ground preparation.
"The going in this arena is the best in world. It doesn’t need any improvement," he said.
William Funnell, meanwhile, warmed up in great style for his Derby defence. Cortaflex Mondriaan jumped an immaculate clear in the Derby Trial, but William withdrew him from the jump-off to await Sunday’s challenge. William still took home another £3,500 after yesterday’s victor, Billy Congo, galloped in second place in the class.
The day’s other international class, the innovative Hickstead Master’s Challenge, kept the crowd entertained from start to finish.
Riders went against the clock before taking on a series of gates to finish their rounds. The lead changed hands constantly and Thursday’s Stoner Jewellers Vase hero Sam Hutton (Olympia III) made a valiant attempt to win a second international class before another young rider, William Whitaker, claimed victory with Sarlino, the horse on whom he won the A&B grand prix at the British Open.
"I’ve never done a class like this before and when I walked the course I did get a bit confused, but it was really good fun. A win at Hickstead is the ultimate," said William, who is looking forward to his 21st birthday in July.
The locally based Team Pavitt was again in flying form in the International Arena. Louise won the opening Polyjumps 1.25m championship with a terrific round on Acordio, then younger sister Nicole took the top two places in a hotly contested five-year-old final with Festiena van Texelhof and Figaro van de Bosrand.
Three made the jump-off of the Heating & Cooling Six-Year-Old Championship, which resulted in a popular win for home-based Irishman Shane Breen on Ayumi Kotani long-striding Cor Dela Rossa Z.
The showing classes also got underway today. Jayne Webber was in fabulous form, heading the small hunters with First Edition and winning both cob classes. The title went to the heavyweight The Keystone Cob with Fait Accobli in reserve.
Ridden M&Ms packed the River Lawn from dawn until dusk and the overall title went to the section C Waxwing Rheel, well shown by Bobby Bright.