Shane Breen executed a perfect trial run for Sunday’s feature Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby with victory in the Bunn Leisure Derby Trial on Can Ya Makan.
The super-cool Irishman – who is based at Hickstead – has clocked up a number of International wins at his home base, but this was his first major win the International arena since claiming the honours in both the Hickstead Derby trial and Queen Elizabeth II Cup in 2013.
Only five of the 42 starters provided round one clears to go forward to the jump-off, including two Hickstead Derby leading lady riders. Holly set the pace with the talented Heart Throb nine-year-old Hearts Destiny and Harriet Nuttall opted for a steady clear aboard the Touchdown 14-year-old A Touch Imperious. Ireland’s Richard Howley uncharacteristically came home on 16 for fourth on Notis Me and William Funnell opted not to contend the jump-off and save Billy Buckingham for Sunday’s Derby to take fifth.
It paved the way for Shane to take the win by 1.83 sec on the Canturo 12-year-old Can Ya Makan.
“In the beginning, the horse and me didn’t get on so great so Georgia Tame rode him a few times. Dublin was our breakthrough show and he’s been great for me since then,” said Shane. “This was my first time jumping him in this ring and he was very comfortable in himself. I thought the jump-off would suit him because he can use his length of stride. Holly said she’d gone quite quick, and when she says quite quick you know she means very quick! We just got into a good rhythm, a good groove and he was perfect. He’s super quick, nice in his mouth, very soft to ride and he’s got great balance – he’d be some dressage horse.”
Shane now has his sights set on Sunday’s grand finale, the Al Shira’aa Derby. He has had eight top 10 placings in Hickstead’s iconic Derby class, including finishing equal second in 2011, but has yet to lift the trophy. He now hopes to ride Can Ya Makan in the Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup and the Longines FEI Nations Cup of Great Britain at Hickstead’s five-star show next month.
The top-35 horses in today’s feature class have automatically qualified for the Al Shira’aa Derby, which takes place on Sunday afternoon.
Ladies led the way in a British top six finish in the 65-horse Bunn Leisure Derby two-phase with Yazmin Pinchen proving the quickest to take the win on 15-year-old Vivaldi Van De Kempel stallion Van De Vivaldi by 0.82 sec.
Yazmin, 25, was proud to have a win with her 16-month-old son watching.
"The last time I was here at Hickstead I was pregnant with Harry and I won the Royal International Accumulator, so it’s nice to be back and have a win with Harry here too. I want to win even more now, I just want to make him proud – get back to five-star and be better than ever. I’m really committed, focused and just on a mission."
Louise Whitaker is soon back to form following the birth of daughter Sienna earlier this year and claimed second spot on the Balou Du Rouet 11-year-old Ruby VIII and Cressy Neads slotted the 11-year-old Lordanos stallion Lordanos Junior into third. Steven Franks eased Abdul Aziz into fourth ahead of Max Routledge aboard Firkov Du Rouet and Miles O’Donnell with Borsato in fifth and sixth.
Leesa Long raced ahead in a hotly-contended 12-strong 1.25m single-phase championship to take victory by just 0.05 sec with Saber. John Crippen chased hard to finish second on Loughnatousa OB with Nici Wilson in third and fourth on Naomi 55 and Fine Fleur and Paul Crago picked up fifth aboard Ultimate Risk.
Three weeks ago, Joe and his brother Donald battled it out in the Northcote six-year-old championship with just 0.01 sec separating the two. In Hickstead’s main ring in the 17-horse 1.30m six-year-old title, the brothers were again pitted against each other and again Joe claimed the upper hand riding Jessie Crane’s Hulahupe JR, on this occasion by 0.02 sec.
Donald had to settle for second place riding Tom Williams’ scopey Chilli, and making it a Whitaker top three, George brought Shooting Star into third with the only other double clear. Fast four-faults put William Rekert into fourth and fifth on another two owned by Tom Williams – Cool Mister C and Hot Bluebird.
Donald claimed his own win in the five-year-old championship with 0.82 sec in hand on Tom Williams’ Nero Van De Kwade Heyde (Echo Van T Spieveld/Lux Z). Three of the 16 starters posted double clears, Luke Hill slotting Billy Marmite into second with Nici Wilson third on Katie Bell. Joe Trunkfield was the quickest by two sec on Ivory but a rail down in the second phase dropped him to fourth.
Photos © Jumping Around & Hickstead/Nigel Goddard