If you asked the majority of showjumpers which classes they would like to win, the Hickstead Derby and Great Yorkshire’s Cock o’ the North would probably feature in the 80% or more of the answers. And one man has secured both in less than a month.
For Nigel Coupe, 2017 is proving a vintage year. Just weeks after taking the biggest win of his career in the Hickstead Derby with Golvers Hill, the on-form pair lifted the £8,000-to-the-winner Cock o’ the North.
Neither win is any fluke. At the Great Yorkshire, riders are faced with a double of imposing walls in a 1.60m track over three rounds played out to a packed audience. Seven riders found all the answers to jump clear in the first round, and all seven posted clean sheets in round two to contend the jump-off, Nigel and the Ricardo Z 14-year-old Golvers Hill galloping into the top spot in a nail-biting jump-off to score their second big win in three weeks.
Robert Smith was hot on their heels aboard the scopey nine-year-old Dulf Van Den Bisschop stallion Ilton.
“Ilton jumped a great round and it was a good warm-up for Aachen next week,” he said Keith Shore and his consistent grand prix ride Mystic Hurricane claimed third place with Harriet Nuttall in fourth on A Touch Imperious.
Billy Twomey claimed the top spot in the International Stairway with Kim Barzilay’s talented home-bred Je T’Aime Flamenco eight-year-old Kimba Flamenco, a ride he took on earlier this year and successfully stepped up to International level.
The jump-off was hot, with Billy claiming victory by the narrowest of margins, just 0.04 sec in front of Helen Tredwell, in second with her home-bred Vangelis S daughter Larksong. Harriet and the rangy Irish-bred A Touch Imperious took third, almost two sec behind. Robert and Ilton proved the fastest of the lot, but four faults dropped them to fourth place.
A delighted Annabel Shields triumphed in the Haredesign 1.50m, denying Billy another win. She guided the Mr Blue 14-year-old Wet Wet Wet to head the jump-off with breath-taking turns at an incredible pace. Billy had to settle for second on the Irish-bred stallion Ardcolum Duke with Robert Whitaker slotting Brendon Stud’s Warrior stallion Noble Warrior into third.
Ladies ruled the 1.50m accumulator, Louise Saywell racing ahead to take the top spot on Graham Ward’s Feigtling. Julie Andrews eased Wilando B into second ahead of Laura Stephenson in third on Catherston Connor.
Yorkshireman Joe Clayton scored a handsome victory in his home county in the Ruddington Park 1.40m speed, holding off all challenges on Steve and Caroline Barnes’ Ard VDL Douglas 10-year-old Millioninmind to fill first place. Paul Barker and the Kannan 10-year-old claimed second with Louise and Feigtling in third.
Yorkshirmen were on form - Paul and Happy Boy topped the Yorkshire Dales mini major relay whip round, galloping ahead to take the win with partner Sophie Wicks on the nine-year-old Sweet Baby James. Joe Whitaker on Lavarno joined forces with Rachel Proudley on the coloured mare Painted Lady for second and Annabel Shields rode Rubin VHS into third with Isabella Snowden and Penchwintan Glynle.
Nicole Lockhead Anderson headed the Yard Equestrian JA classic with the Irish 13-year-old Claggan Gypsy Delight, relegating Olli Fletcher into second on the Matchello K nine-year-old The Bobster. Faye Sutton jumped into third on Robe Ruadh, another Irish 13-year-old.
Photos © Jumping Around