‘It’s a fantastic feeling when you get it right’: 18hh gelding and puissance debutant share Royal Windsor spoils

  • There was a British-Irish tie in the puissance at Royal Windsor Horse Show when big-wall specialists Derek Morton and KBIS High Quality shared the spoils with newcomer to the class Chankar Mail, ridden by Trevor Breen.

    In a thrilling closing heat, puissance favourites Mr Blue Sky and Guy Williams, who have rewritten the history books with their consistency in this class in recent years, also left the wall standing, but clocked an excruciating four faults when they lowered the rail at the triple bar.

    It was unusual to see five combinations make the fifth and final round, where the wall reached 2.15m (7ft), all of whom had cleared it flawlessly in the preceding heat.

    David Simpson and Thomas Hedgecock’s Jumper Jack TS, a horse he had ridden just three times before, jumped brilliantly until the end, when they dragged off a brick behind. Elliot Smith and Flamboyant II, joint winners at both Bolesworth last year and more recently Chard, shared the same fate.

    But Derek Morton and the 18hh KBIS Quality cleared the wall with just a light tap of a hind foot and shared the £5,000 first prize with Trevor and the Old Lodge’s impressive 10-year-old stallion, who appeared to thrive on his puissance debut.

    Derek Morton and KBS High Quality winning the puissance at Royal Windsor Horse Show

    Derek Morton and KBIS High Quality also cleared the wall in the final round to share the victory.

    “It looked at one point like we were all going to come away equal first, as no one was getting through on luck alone,” said Derek.

    “It is a big wall though and you never know with these classes how it will turn out — it’s a leap of faith and if there’s a single bit of doubt it can go wrong. Tonight it went perfectly for me.

    “It’s fantastic to get into a show with this atmosphere,” he added of Royal Windsor Horse Show, which runs over four days. “The crowd loves a puissance, although the riders not always so much! It’s a fantastic feeling when you get it right.”

    Trevor has been riding the striking Chankar Mail for just a few months and has recently been “jumping him round some 1.30ms to build him up”, including taking a win in the CSI* at Chepstow two weeks ago.

    “I asked [owner] Prince Torki if I could try him in the puissance at Royal Windsor Horse Show and he said yes. John Whitaker had him before me and had jumped a six-bar on him, which is a similar class,” Trevor said.

    “He was fantastic tonight and went beyond my expectations. The first round was a bit hairy as he didn’t know what was going on and he had never seen the green brush in front of the wall before — he ran hard right and I was just about to let him go when he gave in and jumped it.

    “After that, every round became better and better.”

    The bay stallion was displaying some incredible scope at heights well over 6ft, giving the wall air.

    “I was thinking ‘dude you don’t need to give it that much room!’” Trevor said. “He really felt like he loved it and when you’re jumping puissances, that’s a lovely feeling to have.”

    • Horse & Hound will be bringing you all the action from Royal Windsor Horse Show both online and in next week’s magazine, in the shops on Thursday 19 May.

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