Tipperary’s Shane Breen and the chestnut 14-year-old stallion Golden Hawk won The Bunn Leisure Derby Trial for the Ben O’Meara Memorial Trophy at Hickstead this afternoon, when the Irish combination were one of only two clear rounds in the class.
Scottish rider Graham Gillespie and the bay gelding Andretti went clear early on and though a number of four-faulters followed, it looked as though the British rider was in line for victory as the only clear round.
Hickstead-based Breen had one pole down when jumping with the first of his two entries, last year’s winner Can Ya Makan, in a time of 107.01 seconds. The Irish rider, scheduled to jump last in the class with the eventual winner Golden Hawk, then produced only the second clear round of the afternoon in a fast time of 99.30 seconds.
With a shortened course for the jump-off, Graham Gillespie then decided he would not participate as his mount had been busy in recent shows, and obviously with an eye on Sunday’s Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby. Breen and Golden Hawk then had to complete the course to take the win, something they duly did with a clear round in 71.81 seconds.
Britain’s Michael Whitaker and Major Delacour were third on four faults in 101.74 seconds, with another British combination, Holly Smith and Heart’s Destiny, fourth with four faults in 102.64 seconds, while Shane Breen and Can Ya Makan claimed fifth place, with four faults in a time of 107.01 seconds.