A huge crowd enjoyed the sunshine and some fantastic action during the Bunn Leisure Speed Derby at Hickstead.
Riders went faster and faster during this classic class and the first to break the 100-second barrier — despite a 4sec penalty for an early pole down — was Irishman Daniel Coyle on the little chestnut mare Special Leap.
Such was the standard that Daniel ended up fifth at the end of the class. He was first overtaken by last year’s runners-up, Somerset-based Harriet Nuttall and Highland Cruiser II, who jumped a lovely clear but looked to have left some room for improvement.
Five horses later, Irish rider Trevor Breen jumped the round of the class. He and Beer Hunter never looked like making a mistake and took the lead by almost 4sec. This proved the winning time, although Trevor had to bite his nails throughout challenges from his brother Shane and the last-drawn rider, Syria’s Ahmed Saber Hamcho.
The latter came closest with a flying round on the French-bred mare Orphee De L’Illon and Ahmad’s smile at the end of his round said it all.
“I love this class. It’s a huge test of horse and rider and my horse was brilliant,” said Trevor.
Read H&H’s report on the Hickstead Derby on Horseandhound.co.uk tomorrow and don’t miss next week’s magazine for aspecial report on all the action at Hickstead’s British Jumping Derby Meeting