On the first day of international competition at the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby meeting on Thursday, a number of Irish riders and their horses had noticeable results, with Tipperary-native and Hickstead-based rider Shane Breen the only one of them to take a victory.
Breen and the mare Quintella won the two-phase The Astore & Sons 1.35m Open Championship when jumping two clear rounds. The Irish combination’s winning time of 35.82 seconds, gave them breathing space over the runner-up, Britain’s Bryony Crippen and the gelding Cacharel Z, in 38.46 seconds. Ireland’s Mark Dorgan and the gelding Lux Trendy were further back fourth in 41.09 seconds.
Jonathan Smyth, with the Irish Sport Horse Charlton Clio, were second in The Astore & Sons Speed Derby Qualifier when going clear in a time of 83.68 seconds. Britain’s Joss Williams took the victory with another Irish Sport Horse, Culmore Prospect, in 76.35 seconds.
Ireland’s Mark Tracy, riding the mare Beech Hill Tayla Blue, were third in The Hickstead Novice Championship, clocking 35.92 seconds. The first and second spots went to Britons William Rekert (Hot Bluebird) and Guy Williams (Chilli) in 32.27 seconds and 34.17 seconds respectively. Another Irish rider, Ciaran Flynn, was eighth in the class, in a time of 37.71 seconds, but with four faults.
Irish rider Jason Foley and the stallion Castlefield Cass were fifth in The Al Shira’aa Under 25 Masters, finishing second best of the four-faulters in a time of 78.62 seconds. In a British clean sweep of the podium places, Georgia Tame took both first and second spots, with Z7 Canya Dance (clear in 76.90 seconds) and Clintofina (clear in 77.41 seconds), while Oliver Fletcher and Hello Diskoboy DN (clear in 79.68 seconds) achieved third place.
David Simpson and Foudre F were best of the Irish combinations in the 1.45m International competition, The Stone Jewellers Vase, finishing in eighth place in 73.58 seconds. The class went to Britain’s Holly Smith, riding Fruselli, as they stopped the timers in 66.97 seconds.
Michael Pender and HHS Burnchurch were the only of the starting 7 Irish combinations to make it through to the jump-off in The Bunn Leisure Derby Tankard. Pender, the penultimate rider to go in the second round, knocked two rails for eight faults and overall sixth place in the competition in a time of 51.70 seconds. The class was won by American Julie Wells and Ambra, clear in 46.76 seconds, with British riders William Fletcher (Persimmon) in 48.39 seconds second and Phillip Miller, riding Noble Warrior, third in 51.95 seconds.