Young horses rise to the Hickstead challenge with Nick Skelton a winning owner *H&H Plus*

  • H&H is on site at Hickstead’s Science Supplements All England Jumping Championships, and spoke to today’s winners. Find out who won what and how...

    Young horses took centre stage in the International Arena on day two of the Science Supplements All-England Championships at Hickstead, where the highlights were the Al Shir’aa four-, five- and six-year-old finals.

    The new five-year-old champion is Nick Skelton’s Billy Bilboa, who was beautfully ridden by 19-year-old Lottie Tutt.

    Nick bought the daughter of Chacco Blue and a Cevin Z mare at last year’s Billy Stud auction.

    “She was only four and very green and because we were busy with international shows, I decided to leave her with William [Funnell] for the time being. Lottie did a great job today, but this mare is so easy and straightforward that I think she’ll become a grand prix horse,” said Nick.

    Lottie coped well with the pressure of riding for such an important owner.

    “Nick was really nice and helpful and he advised me about what to do in the jump-off,” she said.


    Ireland took the honours in the six-year-old final in the shape of Jessica Burke, who produced a stunning winning round on the British-bred mare Ashdale Divine.

    Jessica, a former Dublin young horse champion and five-star rider, is competing at Hickstead for the first time. She has been based in Hampshire for a year now, but had mostly competed internationally before lockdown.

    “I was only a part-time rider at home in Ireland, so coming to England gave me an amazing opportunity to turn professional,” she explained.


    The 50 four-year-old finalists faced a tough track that took these inexperienced horses on a tour of the huge arena. Just six horses managed double clears to share first place, including two for the sponsor, both ridden beautifully by Irishman Jason Fitzpatrick.

    1.40m speed class

    Shane Breen started the Irish winning run in the 1.40m speed class that opened the day’s programme.

    The Hickstead-based star jumped a brilliant round from mid-draw on 14-year-old Can Ya Makan and then held off all challengers. Second spot went to Shane’s fellow Breen Equestrian rider Jack Ryan, on Granada S, while Thursday’s 1.40m winner Holly Smith rode Flipper Darco UK Z into third place.

    While other riders had to push to take a stride out to the influentual final oxer, Can Ya Makan made it simple for Shane.

    “He has such a long stride that I have to be carefull not to turn too tight sometimes. He loves this arena and he made today feel easy. I’m hoping Sunday’s grand prix might have the same result!” said Shane.

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