Harriet Nuttall saw off reigning champion Matthew Sampson to win the Science Supplements Speed Derby at Hickstead today (Saturday 22 June).
Matt had been aiming for a third consecutive win with Topflight True Carlo, while Harriet was aiming to add a second win with Silver Lift, following their last victory in 2016.
The crowd at Hickstead was treated to an excellent display of sport, with the leaderboard changing frequently as the class progressed. Last year’s runner up Paul Crago (Valentino IX) delivered another fast round to take the lead before Brazil’s Carlos Motas Ribas and Brilexo shaved two sec off Paul’s time to go in front.
But Harriet – who has finished runner up three times in this class as well as winning in 2016 – knows exactly where she can make up time and save valuable seconds, and she produced a clear round with Silver Lift in a time of to put the pressure on her rivals.
Matt had the advantage of being drawn last to go, and he went all out in an attempt to cross the line quickest. He looked set to claim a third victory, but he knocked down the final fence to add four seconds to what would have been a record-breaking time, leaving him in second place.
“I’ve been runner-up a lot, so actually just to get two wins on him means so much,” said Harriet. “I seem to always come second, so I’m delighted to have another win under my belt.”
Asked about her strategy, Harriet said: “I just tried to cut corners as much as I could and keep a good rhythm; maybe my rhythm wasn’t as fast as it had been in previous years, but he was clear, and he actually hasn’t jumped the Speed Derby clear that many times.”
Harriet had a nervous wait to see if anyone could better her time, and for a moment it looked as if Matt had done enough. “When Matt had the last down, there was a big pause - he was so much faster than me that we didn’t know if the four seconds added would make the difference. But I edged it,” she added.
Harriet was delighted with her experienced campaigner Silver Lift, who is now 14 years old. “Silver Lift is such a cool horse. I try not to do so much with him now - I haven’t taken him to a show for three weeks. He’s not meant to be a showjumper at all, but he tries his heart out. He skims over the fences, and he’s careful and fast, which is what you need in a class like this. He’s the most fun horse I have on the yard; he’s a joy to ride.”
Matt was disappointed, but still pleased with his horse. “He’s a fantastic horse, and he loves that arena. I think he got a little bit tired at the end, maybe with the heat, but he’s jumped the class seven times, and he’s been in the top five seven times so you can’t knock him really.”
Paul and Valentino finished an eventual fourth with James Whitaker as the next best Brit in sixth on Lammy Beach.
In the CMH.TV Masters Trophy, Guy Williams was in dominant form with Rouge De Ravel. Having won yesterday’s Bunn Leisure Derby Two Phase, Guy made it clear that the £26,000 World Ranking Class today was his main aim.
With a large field of 62 starters, it wasn’t going to be easy – especially when 15 of those went clear in the first round to ensure a competitive jump-off.
But with the advantage of a later draw, Guy was able to slice nearly five seconds off the leading time. No one could come close to matching it, and Guy was able to claim the prize he’d set out to win this week.
“When I set off from home, I knew we could win today,” said Guy. “There’s not many that can beat him when he’s going like that, and he knows when he has to win too, definitely.
“You have to ride him at his own pace and let him run - he’s very careful. He very rarely has a fence. If you watch him jump he’s the perfect model - he’s quick off the floor, very good in front, tight behind, and so light on his feet.”
Ireland's Gerard O'Neill finished second on Castlefield Vegas with British-based Angelie von Essen for Sweden in third on Luikan Q. Jack Whitaker guided Arlo De Blondel into fourth ahead of Ireland's David Simpson with Foudre F in fifth, Alison Barton took sixth on Roma and Phillip Miller steered Brendon Stud's Noble Warrior into seventh.
Georgia Tame had fired a warning shot in the first leg of the under 25 with the top two places earlier in the week, and she delivered on her promise in the Al Shira’aa under 25 masters with Clintofino.
Eighteen came forward in this class but only five made it to round two, Georgia proving unsurpassable. She flew ahead around the 1.45m track to win by 1.95 sec on the Clinton/Corofino I 10-year-old Clintofino to score a home win.
“It’s just amazing to ride in the main arena, and even more amazing to win,” says Georgia, who has been based at Hickstead with top Irish rider Shane Breen for four years. “Even though I live here, it still feels so amazing.”
Clintofino is a new ride for Georgia.
“I’ve only ridden him three times in the ring,” she says, explaining that her mentor Shane Breen and his brother Trevor Breen also compete him. “Hopefully now I’ve got some results with him, I’ll get to take him to some of the international shows and see how far he goes. I’m really pleased for the horse – he’s only just started coming into his own.”
Genevieve Clarke claimed second on Dirk II. Jack Whitaker so nearly denied Georgia a win and was up on the clock by more than two and a half sec with El Wee Widge, but a rail on the floor dropped them to third while James Wilson also returned on four to put Gossip SA into fourth.
Hannah Tiley secured the top honours in the Harcour Hickstead amateur championship with Amaryllis III in an exciting, hard-fought seven-horse decider.
No-one could catch Hannah and she edged ahead to win by 0.28 sec and record her first win in the famous Hickstead arena.
. “I’ve been second here twice, so to actually win is amazing,” said Hannah, who has produced the Animo 11-year-old for the last six years, starting in pony classes until a growth spurt ruled the mare out.
“I actually jumped Amaryllis in pony classes as a four-year-old, and then she grew quite a bit!”
Heidi Sellar claimed second on Posh Totty with Amy Carnet in third aboard Ja Lo II and Kelly Lasarow posted the steadiest of the double clears for fourth on Inschallah Van De Pikkerie.
Text © Jumping Around & Photos © Jumping Around & courtesy Hickstead, British Showjumping & Spidge