Guy Williams was disqualified from his runner-up spot in this year’s British Speed Derby on Saturday (25 June) at Hickstead.
The 2015 Speed Derby victor returned for this year’s contest on last year’s winning ride Casper De Muze and initially slotted in second behind Harriet Nuttall and Silver Lift.
An official at Hickstead detected blood on Casper De Muze’s flank after his round and the information was passed on to the show organisers and an investigation started immediately.
However, the results weren’t amended until the following day (Sunday, 26 June) by which time the ground jury had had time to thoroughly investigate all the video evidence and discuss the incident with Guy.
“The FEI officials were clear in stating that this was an unfortunate accident, and that there was no misuse of spurs, but the presence of blood on the horse’s side means instant disqualification under FEI rules,” said Hickstead’s director Lizzie Bunn.
The spur mark is thought to have been sustained at the Irish bank when the gelding jinked slightly.
Guy’s disqualification resulted in Harriet’s other Speed Derby ride Highland Cruiser II moving up to second and the 26-year-old claiming a one-two in the class.
A deluge of rain at the West Sussex venue meant ground conditions were different to those last year and of the 28 starters, nine failed to complete.
French-based Guy and the 14-year-old gelding last year smashed the course record when winning the Speed Derby, having also triumphed the previous year. He also became the first rider to take the title for a fourth time.
There was further drama in Saturday’s feature class when Captain Geoff Curran — who had set an early lead aboard Seapatrick — was then disqualified under the FEI rules when his horse pulled up with a nosebleed. He took prompt action by dismounting in the arena.
The FEI blood rules have caused controversy in the past. In December, Irishman Bertram Allen was eliminated during the Olympia grand prix having produced the winning round. His horse Quiet Easy was found to have blood coming from a small cut on her offside caused by Bertram’s spur when they left the arena.