David McPherson’s incredible run of form continued at Hickstead on Friday afternoon when he rode to victory in the Derby Trial.

David, who is looking forward to his first time competing at Aachen next week, was on a brand new ride, Mandy Hall’s Finbarr V. The giant chestnut’s usual rider, Robert Whitaker, is jumping in Monte Carlo until Saturday and asked David to take over and get the horse qualified for him for Sunday’s Derby.

The previous day, David and Finbarr collected 20 faults.

“I was wondering what I’d let myself in for,” said the South African-born rider. “But he was crazy fresh and John Whitaker worked him for me this morning. I don’t know what he did — it’s magic — but I had a different horse to ride today.”

The pair just had a toe in the water in round one and were joined in the jump-off by Ireland’s Shane Breen (World Cruise) and John himself on Lactic Two, who both faulted in a difficult uphill double. David then forced his rivals into error, galloping round clear to win from John, who again fell foul of the double.

“I would like it on record that Robert has got to win on Sunday. He has no excuses at all,” joked David.