Chestnut mare bucks her way to Derby victory and Ben Maher just beaten by his equine namesake

  • With excitement building towards this year’s Hickstead Derby (25 June), all eyes turned to Hamburg at the weekend (17-21 May) for the German equivalent, where a 21-year-old rider wowed with a winning speed Derby-Derby double.

    Ben Maher also continued his successful return to top flight sport and this time it was his top mare Dallas Vegas Batilly’s turn to shine. Meanwhile, closer to home, Trevor Breen lifted grand prix silverware. Here is your weekly round-up of international showjumping news and results.

    Chestnut mare bucks her way to Derby victory

    The quirky 14-year-old Balou’s Erbin jumped the sole double clear under 21-year-old German rider Marvin Jüngel, to win the Hamburg Derby and complete an impressive double for the rider, who also won Saturday’s speed Derby on the nine-year-old Koradina R. His Derby victory came after a two-way jump-off against Denmark’s Caroline Rehoff Pedersen, also 21, riding Calvin 115, who just added a time-fault to a steady jumping clear.

    The tail-swishing chestnut mare Balou’s Erbin pinned back her ears for much of the two rounds, kicking up her heels between jumps, but she has an exceptional partnership with her young rider and the pair soared over the Derby fences, including the bank, a double of Irish banks and a vast open water, much to the huge delight of Marvin, who is ranked 1,216th in the world.

    “I’m lost for words,” said Marvin, whose mother Sonja owns his winning mare. “It’s her birthday tomorrow so that’s a very good present and we can celebrate well tomorrow.”

    The reigning Hickstead Derby victors Shane Breen and Can Ya Makan were jumping superbly until they came unstuck at the double of single poles and elected to retire, but the Irishman enjoyed a string of excellent five-star placings at the show.

    Finishing third in the speed Derby was British showjumper Henry Turrell riding Rocco.

    Ben Maher is beaten by his equine namesake

    The reigning Olympic champion Ben Maher has made a remarkable return from a serious shoulder injury to the top tier of the sport and, after his brilliant second-place finish with Explosion W in the Rolex grand prix at Royal Windsor last week, it was top new mare Dallas Vegas Batilly’s turn to shine in Hamburg’s Longines grand prix, where they finished second to home hero Gerrit Nieberg and another powerhouse, the big-striding gelding Ben 431.

    “I had a good feeling in the first round, so I knew I could take a risk in the jump-off,” said Gerrit, who topped a 12-strong jump-off to claim the €75,000 (£65,200) top prize.

    In a successful day for the Maher family, Ben’s wife Sophie had earlier headed a two-phase with her great partner, the 14-year-old Sentimiento LS La Silla.

    Third place in Saturday’s grand prix went to a flying performance from Ireland’s Michael Duffy at only his third show on Che Fantastica, who was previously ridden by Germany’s Philipp Weishaupt and bought from Ludger Beerbaum by Hibernia Horses with breeding as the long-term goal.

    The other British contenders – Joe Stockdale (Equine America Bingo Du Chateau) and Harry Charles (Romeo 88) – just picked up four faults each in round one.

    ‘Class act’ thrills on British soil

    There was more international showjumping news to come from closer to home. A huge field of 57 came forward for the CSI2* grand prix at Wellington, Hampshire, where Ireland’s Trevor Breen triumphed on 12-year-old “class act” Gonzalo.

    “I’m delighted with his performance and grateful for all our support team who make this possible,” he said.

    He beat Scott Brash (Hello Vittoria) into the runner-up spot, with Joe Clayton third on Belinda.

    You can read more showjumping news, including the full report from Hamburg and CSI2* Wellington in next week’s issue of Horse & Hound.

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