Sixty-nine competitors came forward for the opening FEI class, the Stoner Jeweller’s vase, but it was these two Hickstead titans who topped the line-up, spearheading the pack of Brits filling the top five places.
Harriet and the 12-year-old mare Night Of Glory OL had managed to narrowly overtake a long-standing lead from Nicole Lockhead Anderson and Miss Aragona PS but Guy and his 17-year-old stallion Rouge De Ravel smashed the target by almost 3 sec. There was an almost 4 sec gap between the top three riders and the remainder of the field.
“I’ve missed it a bit!” Guy said of the Derby meeting’s return. “I always like to win here and he’s a good horse for trying to win on.
“He’s feeling really good, we jumped a smaller class today but we’ll do the rankings class on Saturday. He’s got a bit of age to him now but he’s really enjoying it here.”
Guy and Harriet are familiar with tussling on Hickstead’s hallowed turf, having battled it out in the speed derby several times in the past decade. Guy’s most recent of four wins came in 2014 and 2015 with Casper De Muze, while Harriet is the reigning title-holder, having won in 2016 and 2019 with Silver Lift.
This year, the now 17-year-old Silver Lift, who has also been runner-up in the class on several occasions, will return to defend his title, while Guy will be partnering his daughter Maisy’s usual ride, the 15-year-old stallion Triomphe Kervec.
While Guy is still riding at the top of the sport, having just returned from four weeks competing in Belgium and France, he has been dedicating more time to supporting his daughter’s show jumping career.
“Maisy is doing her exams this week, so I’ll be back running around after her next week!” he said.
“I’m giving Triomphe Kervec a jump in the speed derby as next year Maisy will be riding in it, so I’ll be giving him some experience for her. I’m going to try and win it though. He’s a good horse and he’s really fast, so if it goes well, he won’t be far off, that’s for sure.”