Amanda Derbyshire bested the rest in Tryon 2* in the USA to land the $35,000 1.45m Suncast Welcome stakes with Lady Maria BH.
The pair blazed around the track to beat 65 rivals to the top spot, their early draw winning with more than a sec in hand in the 14-strong jump-off by taking out a stride down two distances.
“Maria is a very fast horse with a big stride. In the first line, I did eight where most people did nine, and then where most people did seven, I did six strides to a double. I mean, she’s just so quick and agile. She doesn’t spend much time in the air, so that’s always an advantage,” said Amanda.
“She always tries to leave the jumps up and tries to win, so I always have that on my side going into the jump off,” she added.
Amanda approved of German course-designer Martin Otto’s track.
“The course was nice. You had to be pretty on it in the first round to make the time allowed. There was a hedge jump in there, which I haven’t seen for a long time, so that was interesting,” she said. “Not as many horses spooked at it than you’d think, but that’s always an interesting jump.”
The 11-year-old mare made short work of the course, making it look easy.
“There was one option after the combination, where you could either do a steady six to the fence or go in five. Lady Maria BH is so stridey, so I chose to go in five, but then a couple people then had that down because it was pretty flat in the five,” commented Amanda. “I actually had it down on my other horse trying to do the five and make the time allowed, when in hindsight, I should have done the six like a couple people did, but I was thinking about the time.”
Lady Maria – a Cartani/Corrado I Holsteiner mare who was produced in Britain by Jamie Fry and won the Hickstead winter novice final in 2013?? – joined Amanda two years ago and is the first truly quality horse she’s had to this point in her career.
“She’s got the best heart of any horse I’ve ever known. She always tries hard for me and she’s always so fast. She’s so laidback to be around in the warm-up that she makes it easy,” said Amanda. “She’s very, very quiet in general, which makes things easy at shows like this. She’s not one that you have to take a lot of time preparing, but she’s pretty straightforward and one of the best horses I’ve had, that’s for sure.”
For a horse so fast to have so calm a disposition at the top levels of the sport is rare, Derbyshire admitted, but she explained that it doesn’t mean she’s not fast or even spunky in the show ring.
She explained, “You have to kind of wind her up going into the jump-off, actually. Her stride is very deceiving; people say, ‘How did you do eight in the first line? She’s so little!’ But she’s just got a deceivingly big stride.”
Another USA-based Brit, Gemma Paternoster, claimed a fourth and a fifth place in the seven-year-old series with Caretino Boy.
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