Ben Maher won the Speed Derby at Hickstead this afternoon – and now has the chance to make show jumping history for a second year. At last year’s British Jumping Derby Meeting the 23-year-old took both the Speed Derby and the DFS Derby – the “ultimate test” for horse and rider. If Maher wins tomorrow’s £30,000 first prize DFS Derby he will be the second rider in history to have achieved such a feat. Cpt John Ledingham won both competitions in 1994 and 1995.
In an exciting and action packed competition, Ben Maher steered Mecurius around the course in an unbeatable time of 95.21 sec, to take home the £3,000 first prize. But Ireland’s Shane Breen certainly gave the World Class potential squad member a run for his money. Partnering Mullaghdrin Gold Rain, Breen finished just over a second slower. Ellen Whitaker and Henri de Herne took third place, clocking up a 97.18 sec time.
But while Maher gets ready to defend his Derby title tomorrow afternoon, John Whitaker is hoping to bring his Derby tally to five – and has a new string to his bow. Following Jane Annett’s fall yesterday afternoon, Whitaker has taken over the ride of Cullawn Diamond. Annett suffered a dislocated ankle in the Derby Trial yesterday afternoon.
Meanwhile Ellen Whitaker has made every effort to make sure her DFS Derby partner Boyram will plot the best routes – the horse will be sporting contact lenses in the £30,000 competition.
The DFS Derby takes place at the All England Jumping Course, Hickstead at 2:30 pm.