Horse & Hound's coverage of The Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby Meeting (24-28 June) is brought to you in association with Equestrian.com
Alice Watson rode to her first Hickstead victory – beating a field of 59 starters to claim the Tom Hudson Derby Trophy with her own Billy Lemon at the Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby meeting (25-28 June).
The 27-year-old, who hails from Somerset, went flat to the boards in the jump-off with the 10-year-old mare. Third to go, the combination posted a speedy time of 40.52 seconds, fending off Ireland’s Cian O’Connor and the nine-year-old Good Luck. America’s Lillie Keenan and Super Sox settled for third.
The 1.50m class’ first round produced only 10 clear rounds – Brit Tim Page opted to withdraw his mount Santa Cruise ahead of the final round against the clock.
“This is the biggest win of both of our careers – since I’ve come back from Spain she has won at every show she’s been to,” said Alice of the mare by Cevin Z, who she purchased from the Billy Stud as a five-year-old and has since also produced a foal.
“I’ve finished second a lot here at Hickstead – I think I proved today that I can hold my own. She [Billy Lemon] felt a bit flat in the warm up so I changed my spurs last minute. She’s a very spoilt horse and knows when people are watching,” added Hampshire-based Alice who has battled various injuries and had to take six months off last year after slipping three discs in her back – following a bad knee injury previously.
“I bought her [Billy Lemon] having made a profit buying and selling a few ponies while studying at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester and I was after a 1.40m horse to compete – it shows if there is a will, there is a way,” she added.
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The first class of the day in the international arena – the Animo Amateur Championship – was claimed by Glynn Slater riding Charlotte Foreman’s Tubbercurry Lass.
The Beethoven seven- and eight-year-old Championship went the way of Nicole Pavitt and Bellissima Z II – Jane Annette and Pallas Masterclass took second.