Robert Smith scored his first Derby Trial victory when he and Jimmy McCloskey’s reliable Mr Springfield galloped to victory in the Osborne Refrigerators-sponsored class, the highlightof Friday’s classes at Hickstead.
A track described by Robert afterwards as “very big and tough” caused a huge amount of trouble and only first-drawn Swedish rider, Jens Fredricson, and Robert could finish on only one mistake.
Jens and the scopey Greve Molke lowered the final stile parallel, while Mr Springfield’s error came early on at the second fence, where the Irish-bred bay rolled off a pole as he jumped off.
The jump-off woke up the huge crowd,as Jens set off at the gallop and made the best use of Greve Molke’s long stride. But Robert has been long renowned as an artist against the clock and the in-form Mr Springfield, who won two classes at last weekend’s Horse Show CSIA inEssex, answered every question to break the beam 5sec ahead.
“He’s honest and straightforward and always has a go,” said Robert, who is hoping that the nine-year-old Mr Springfield might be the one to give him to first Derby win.
“I finished second twice as a young man, back in the days of Sanyo Olympic Video, and I really wanted to win ,” said the Warwickshire-based Yorkshireman.
Local rider claims young horse titles
Local rider Joe Clee was in dominant form in the earlier classes on the Light family’s horses.
Joe took the British four- and five-year-old titles on the forthcoming Horse of the Year Show finalists, the stallions Caretino Glory and Unbelievable Darco, before being defeated by a fraction for the six-year-old championship by Tim Stockdale and last weekend’s Essex newcomers second round winner, Fresh Direct Arya.
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Don’t miss our daily online show jumping and dressage reports from Hickstead – read full reportwith pictures in next week’s Horse & Hound (on sale Thursday 29 August)