Ben Maher became only the second rider — and the first since Ireland’s John Ledingham in 1979 — to win both major classes at Hickstead Derby meeting in the same year when he and Alfredo came out top in a tense two-horse jump-off for the DFS Derby.

Ben and the chestnut jumped clear last year, only to collect a single time-fault. They were well within the time today, but at the expense of a pole at the Devil’s Dyke.

In the jump-off they faced Tim Stockdale, who produced a fantastic round on Headley Stud’s big mare Fresh Direct Cloudy Night. They were clear until the final fence, where the grey pushed out a pole in front.

Ben was first to go and he set a marvellous target on Alfredo, who never looked like touching a pole. Tim had no option but to go for it and when the gate fell he retired into an honourable second place.

“I think Alfredo deserved this, but luck was on my side,” said Ben, 22.

“If I had to be beaten by anyone I’m glad it was Ben. He’s the future of the sport,” added Tim.

2005 DFS Derby results

1. Ben Maher, riding Alfredo II (Mr Maher). 1st round – 4, 2nd round – 0
2. Tim Stockdale, riding Fresh Direct Cloudy Night (Headley Stud). 1st round – 4, 2nd round – Retired
3=. Nicky Boulter, riding her own Magna Carta II. 1st round – 8
3=. Chloe Bunn, riding Buddy Bunn (Mr Douglas Bunn). 1st round – 8
3=. Shane Breen, riding Iman D’Occagnes (A Brodrick). 1st round – 8