reland was a clear winner at Hickstead on Friday, 24th June with three riders on the top five of the €25,000 The Bunn Leisure Derby Trial for the Ben O’Meara Memorial Trophy. The class proved to be a real challenge with only 4 clears out of 62 riders in the first round and just one double clear produced by the Irish rider David Simpson aboard the 10-year-old Belgian gelding Gotti Van Paemel (Cicero Z X Calido I) finishing in 75.91 seconds.
“He’s not fast, but he’s really careful,” explained Simpson. “I decided if the lads went clear I’d jump a few fences and pull him up and give him a pat, because I knew I’d come third and then I could save him for the Derby. But when they had fences down I knew I could jump a clear round.”
The 2nd place was for home rider William Funnell, who also was 3rd in Thursday’s big class on his other horse Billy Congo. On Friday he gave Simpson a run for his money riding the 10-year-old Anglo European breed gelding Billy Onslow (Billy Congo X Iroko) in a time of 64.30, but picking up 4 faults.
Even though he was the fastest rider of the class in 59.59 seconds, Ireland’s Shane Breen scored 8 points riding his 10-year-old Belgian gelding Acoustik Solo du Baloubet (Baloubet du Rouet X Ksar Sitte) and he has to settle for 3rd place. Breen was also 4th in this class riding this time the Anglo European breed 11-year-old gelding Millfield Ultymate (Ulysses M2S X Condios) who jumped a clear round but didn’t take part in the jump off and he finished his day being 2nd in the The Bunn Leisure Master’s Challenge riding Tango D’Ecry.
And 5th place was for England’s Guy Williams and the 16-year-old Dutch gelding Titus (Lancelot X Rex Magna), with a time fault in the first round that didn’t allow them to take part in the jump off.
Home riders also put in good performances, earning most of the placings with 10 riders into the top 16 of the class.
Saturday’s highlight is the British Speed Derby, which is a single-round timed class that takes in many of Hickstead’s fixed obstacles.
See the full class results here.