James Fisher led home a trio of British riders on Friday afternoon at Hickstead in the Osborne Refrigerators Derby Trial.
The Berkshire-based rider flew round the jump-off course on his Dutch-bred 14-year-old, Idle Dice, to beat Mark Armstrong (Primma) and last year’s winners Jane Annett and Cullawn Diamond by a wide margin.
James was delighted with Idle Dice, who is at only his second show since an enforced break of more than a year after sustaining a twisted fetlock in the field.
“He’s a lovely horse and so brave. I’ll definitely jump him in Sunday’s Derby and with a bit of luck he could go very well,” he said.
Robert Whitaker, who arrived at Hickstead on Thursday night after jumping at Suffolk County, dominated the other two international classes. He first rode the eight-year-old Osinie-Hune to a last-draw win in ring two’s Royston Speed Stakes before galloping round the International Arena on Karina to beat Guy Williams and Loro Piana Hamlet in the Derby Vase.
Former European Championship team silver medallist Alison Bradley gained her first International Arena win for “nine or 10 years” on Ackworth Eclipse in the Hilton Herbs Grade C Championship; Guy Williams and Mister White Z became the impressive Safety System Showjumps Five-Year-Old champions, and Australian young rider Matt Williams rode two lovely rounds to take the Aon Six-Year-Old title on British chef d’equipe Derek Ricketts’s Market Ronaldo.