Guy Williams and Casper De Muze (pictured) jumped the fastest of only 3 clear rounds to win the Bunn Leisure British Speed Derby on Saturday afternoon at Hickstead.
It was an incredibly professional performance from the British team rider, who was chasing an extremely quick time set by Harriet Nuttall.
“He lost a shoe after the road fence, but I don’t think that lost us too much time,” said Guy, who last won this class 10 years ago.
This was the Belgian-bred Casper’s first Derby-type class, but Guy had no worries.
“He won in La Baule and Lummen, so I knew he liked a big grass arena,” he said.
Harriet Nuttall was delighted with her Irish-bred Silver Lift, who finished 2nd.
“He’s only little, so he doesn’t have the length of stride of the other horses, but he does have a great engine,” she said,
Penultimate-drawn Matthew Sampson managed to beat the time on Christine Spanner’s Top Flight True Carlo, but the slightest touch at the gate meant 4sec was added to his time and he ended up in an honourable 3rd place.
This has been a show for 19-year-old Irishmen. Michael Duffy won the first international class on day one and Daniel Coyle took today’s major jump-off class, the Tom Hudson Derby Trophy, on Zuidam.
Derry-based Daniel had to be fast, as Jay Halim — Mr Consistent at this show — looked on course for a win with Jen Goodman’s 17-year-old Goodman For Fun II. But some great turns and a few less strides gave Daniel the win by more than 1sec.
“My horse is a real winner, but I wasn’t that confident because we had a lot of competition,” he said. “I’ll take him on the premier show circuit in Ireland now, but my real ambition is to get a place on a Nations Cup team.”
The heavens opened during the morning and there were plenty of drenched riders in both national finals. After 10 years of trying, businessman Enda Ivanoff took Hickstead’s amateur title home to Wexford in Ireland, while the Beethoven seven- and eight-year-old championship stayed in Britain when David McPherson jumped a great winning round on Maya Beard’s 7-year-old Cevin Z mare Dreamer III.
“I’m riding her while Maya is busy with studies, but she’s just the nicest horse,” said David. “She coped very well with a strong course for a young horse. It was a proper 1.40m track.”
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