Hickstead SJ/showing: Saturday update

By: Horse Deals

Hickstead SJ/showing: Saturday update
Ellen Whitaker wins the Bunn Leisure Speed Derby with Henri de Here
Ellen Whitaker added to her family’s amazing record when she and Henri de Here galloped away with the Bunn Leisure Speed Derby, Saturday’s major class at Hickstead.
Ellen and the 15-year-old gelding won this class in 2007, but she was not confident of victory this time. She had the handicap of an early draw and Ellen then had to sit through many close challenges.
Irishman Damien Griffin was just over 1sec behind for second place, with Shane Breen a fraction further in arrears after a smooth round on the mare Magic Fox.
"Henri’s the perfect horse for this class," said a delighted Ellen.
"He’s incredibly fast and doesn’t waste time in the air by being too careful."
The day’s first international class, the Falcon Equine Feeds Derby Trophy, provided the large crowd with the ideal taster before the Speed Derby. The jump-off field included such favourites as Pippa Funnell — in her first 1.50m class with Billy On Show — and the previous day’s heroes, Michael Whitaker and GIG Amai.
But when Belgian rider Guido Hornesch set off like a rocket on his eight-year-old Kannan mare, Concorde, it looked as though the honours would go to the European visitors. However, Michael Whitaker wasn’t about to give way and he smoothly increased the pace throughout his round to break the beam in exactly the same time and share first prize.
"I couldn’t believe it when I went through the finish and saw my time," said Michael. "I didn’t see Guido’s round, but when I saw he’d taken the lead by 2sec, I knew he had to be fast."
This win was a dream come true for Guido, who had been to Hickstead to watch before, but is competing here for the first time.
"It’s lovely. The most beautiful place in the world," he said.
Guido, who is also at his first four-star show, was trying Concorde in her first 1.50m class.
"I’ve done everything with her from the start, including breaking her in," he explained. "I owned her dam and she was also very scopey, but was just lacking a bit of blood. I think Concorde has it all."

Professional polo player Max Routledge took time off from his "day job" as part of the Lechuza Caracas team to jump two home-produced stallions in the morning’s British Young Riders Championship. The decision paid off when Haslemere-based Max produced a stunning round in the nine-horse jump-off to take the title on Typhoon S and also finish fifth with the scopey seven-year-old Widney.
It was all systems go for the Routledge family straight after the class.
"Max has a Gold Cup match at 3pm this afternoon, so we’re now rushing off to Cowdray Park," explained his mother, Margaret.
The earlier amateur championship proved a triumph for local rider and former jockey Leesa Long, who was drawn first in a three-horse jump- off and produced the sole double clear on The Bing.
The small winners came out top in both the riding horse and hack championships. Alistair Hood took the riding horse honours with Rivage des Negres, while an immaculate performance from Golden Gunner claimed the hack tricolour for Katie Jerram.
Working hunters arrived in great numbers to tackle Hickstead’s unique challenges. The open victory went to a horse that was produced very close to the showground. Penny Price’s Warco originally stood as a stallion at the Light family’s Brendon Stud and was a successful show jumper before turning his hoof to showing. The amateur class was won by university student Jamie Ryder-Phillips with Kelly’s Hero, a 10- year-old son of Master Imp.
Home produced ponies were the judges’ choice in the mini M&M section.
The lead-rein class was won by Alicia Davidson with the charming seven-year-old Coringwould Walnut and the first ridden equivalent went to another grey, Llanarth Sotheby, well written by Scarlet Martin.