Simon Crippen last won at Horse of the Year Show 21 years ago as a fresh-faced 17-year-old in the newcomers final with Judy Ross’ Divine Des Cabanes. On Thursday, he claimed the prestigious Foxhunter final – the class all the professionals want to win – with Premier Titanium.
“I’ve been placed several times over the years and came closest in 2010 finishing second to Laura Renwick. This year everything went my way and to win feels special,” said Simon.
Six of the 21 forward produced first round clears, last-to-go Pippa Funnell the sole lady rider pitted against five gents. And it promised to be hot with known speedsters Paul Barker and Matt Sampson in the mix.
First off Paul was quick but a flyer to the last was one less stride too many and Green Grass clipped the front rail with his hind legs while Matt also faulted with catch-ride Giranette – ridden by Matt as George Whitaker broke his arm last week.
It was left to Simon Buckley to take the lead with an easy clear on Pewit Dezesseis but next to go Simon Crippen swept away almost three sec on the Taloubet Z/Cruising seven-year-old Titanium.
“I played the odds, the two very fast riders blasted it and had a fence, I didn’t want to do anything silly and he [Titanium] is naturally very quick,” said Simon, who played percentages and it paid off.
Titanium was found in Ireland on a buying trip and bought jointly between Simon and Tim Peake as a five-year-old.
“He was a stallion and was a bit of an unknown quantity, he had the talent but was a bit unruly and we were taking a chance. We actually had him cut [gelded] this summer – he was a bit feisty and it has helped him focus; in the second half of this year he has done nothing wrong,” said Simon.
There wasn’t any prep for an indoor show of this or any calibre.
“He jumped at Lanaken [in the world breeding championships] so this was his first indoor show of the season,” added Simon. “We aim to step him up on the Sunshine tour next year and hopefully do some ranking classes.”
Pippa Funnell used her final draw to slot the Billy Mexico/Animo seven-year-old Billy Picador into second place 1.89 sec behind Simon. Simon Buckley settled for third on Pewit Dezesseis with Paul Barker’s fast four on Green Grass – 2.74 sec quicker than Titanium – taking fourth, Robert Murphy was fifth on Highcross Violet and Matt Sampson was fifth on Giranette.
Text and Photos © Jumping Around