Horsham rider heads for show jumping final

Six stars of the future shared the top spot in the recent Prestige Italia Big Star Championship Qualifier at Hickstead out of 39 starters competing for a Championship Final place.

They  included talented rider, David Simpson of Horsham, who tied for first place in the event.

The Prestige Italia Big Star Championship, formerly known as the National Six Year Old Championship, was renamed in 2017 in honour of Big Star, a previous winner of the National Six Year Old Championship who went on to win the Individual Gold medal at Rio 2016.

Results are based on clear rounds and the competing combinations do not jump against the clock, therefore all riders were aiming to achieve a treble clear to ensure a qualifying place for the Prestige Italia Big Star Championship Final which will be held during the British Showjumping National Championships at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire (August 6-11 2019).

David Simpson on his way to qualifying at Hickstead

Of the initial field of thirty-nine, twenty combinations jumped clear over course designer Jason Abbs’ eleven fence first round track. Twelve were then able to jump clear in the second round and six went on to jump that all-important third clear in the final round.

Alfie Bradstock from Wantage, Oxfordshire took through two rides with Gainsborough and Iburg whilst William Funnell from Dorking, Surrey added another Billy Stud horse to the mix with Billy Everest.

Ronnie Lee Jones from Dunmow, Essex takes forward Interstar B, winner of the Newcomers Second Round at Bicton last month. Local man David Simpson from Horsham, West Sussex also gained a spot in the final with I’m Special Too DHH.

Joao Charlesworth from Maidstone, Kent produced the sixth and final treble clear with Unbreakable Z.

Hickstead’s  Prestige Italia Big Star Championship Qualifier Result 


=1st Alfie Bradstock & Gainsborough

=1st Alfie Bradstock & Iburg

=1st David Simpson & I’m Special Too DHH

=1st Joao Charlesworth & Unbreakable Z

=1st Ronnie Lee Jones & Interstar B

=1st William Funnell & Billy Everest


English Derby placings contend today’s Irish Derby

The Irish Derby is the key race today, Saturday and the three runners which were virtually in a blanket finish in the Epsom equivalent will again be in opposition.

The quartet of Anthony Van Dyck, Madhmoon , Japan and Broome were separated by the narrowest of margins in a breathtaking finish in the English race, with Anthony Van Dyck ridden by Seamie Heffernan and trained by Aidan O’Brien,taking the race by half a length from Madhmoon.

Madhmoon – could this be his day?
Photo: courtesy of John Simpson

The latter, trained by Kevin Prendergast, did not have a clear run in closing stages and had to be switched. Given a good run, he has a chance of reversing the English one-two.

Meanwhile Anthony Van Dyck has the advantage of having achieved a good victory over talented rivals.  Also he appears to act on any going and has Ryan Moore in the saddle. He has a good turn of foot.

Japan, ridden by Wayne Lordan and trained  by A P O’Brien, was another close contender, beaten into third place in the English Derby by the smallest of distances-a nose, even though his rider dropped his whip 100 yards out.

Meanwhile Broome was a short head further  back in fourth place.

There is all to play for today  in what should be a fascinating race.












New masterclass for HOYS 2019

A NEW showjumping Masterclass has  been announced for this year’s  Horse of  the Year Show, by organisers Grandstand Media Ltd.They are delighted to announce that a brand new Showjumping Masterclass has been given the go ahead in the timetable for the Wednesday afternoon in the Andrews Bowen International Arena.

Visitors will be treated to demonstrations by four showjumping talents in the form of the Fletcher family. Graham and Tina Fletcher will be directing the Masterclass from the ground, with their well-accomplished sons Will and Olli Fletcher demonstrating a mix of exercises for all different levels on board their talented horses.

Graham Fletcher

In addition, the Fletcher family will also be joined in the arena by special guest and huge supporter of the sport, impressionist and comedian Rory Bremner along with his daughter Lila in the saddle who trains regularly with the Fletcher family and competes with great success on the pony circuit.

Graham Fletcher has been involved in the sport of showjumping at the highest level for more than 35 years, winning all the major International Grand Prix competitions, including the Leading Show Jumper of the Year at Horse of the Year Show, and has twice been crowned the British National Champion.

At the age of 16, Graham went to Horse of the Year Show at Wembley for the first time and was fourth in the Foxhunter final. He was riding the four year old Buttevant Boy, and even by combining their ages, they were younger than any of the other riders in the class.

Three years later, Graham earned the title of the Horse of the Year Show’s Leading Rider and was selected to represent Britain in Rome and Fontainbleu the following year. The Olympic silver medallist is now retired from international competition, but he continues to train and produce young horses.

He and his wife Tina Fletcher run a breeding program which operates from their farm in Oxfordshire, producing top quality show jumpers and eventers. They also both support their teenage sons Will and Olli who are fast becoming two of the leading young riders in the country.

Proving her own credibility, Tina Fletcher has also dedicated her life to the sport of showjumping and has many great accolades under her belt. Her most memorable sporting achievement being her win at the Hickstead Derby in 2011, which she called the fulfillment of a “lifetime ambition” as she had grown up watching it on TV.

Tina Fletcher coming down the famous Derby Bank Photo: John Periam 01243 584718

She became the first female winner of the Hickstead Derby in 38 years, since Alison Dawes won in 1973 and she went on to win the Queen Elizabeth II Cup no less than three times. As no stranger to winning at HOYS also, Tina has won the Grade C Championship as well as taking a joint win in the HOYS Puissance in 2010 with Ellen Whitaker.

Will and Olli, aged 20 and 16 respectively, have both shown talent beyond their years recently representing Great Britain on numerous occasions bringing home a full spectrum of Gold, Silver and Bronze medals either individually or as part of their team GB. In 2017, Will was crowned the National Under 18 and Under 21 Champion at the British Showjumping National Championships, only to be taken the following year by his competitive younger brother Olli who crept in to take the National under 16 Champion and the National under 21 Champion title.

Speaking of their upcoming Showjumping Masterclass at HOYS, Graham commented: “Having competed at HOYS nearly every year since the age of 16, I have been lucky enough to win all of the major titles and have had the ride of some fantastic horses which have shaped my career. It is now a great pleasure to now be revisiting the show with the two lads and seeing them follow in both mine and Tina’s footsteps and I am delighted to be attending this year’s show to host the very first Showjumping Masterclass.

“Together Tina and I can combine a lot of years of experience in the sport and have witnessed many changes, therefore the Masterclass will be mainly focused around techniques to use with a horse for them to excel and maximise their ability in modern day showjumping.”

Emma Williams, Event Director for Grandstand Media Ltd, commented: “We are delighted to be able to offer visitors of Horse of the Year Show our very first Showjumping Masterclass which I am sure with the help of the Fletcher family will be incredibly insightful and have some useful take-home advice in their for everyone who attends as well as being great fun to watch. Showjumping is one of the most popular reasons our visitors attend HOYS so we are pleased to be able to offer this form of tuition from some of the best riders in our sport.”

The Showjumping Masterclass will take place in the afternoon on Wednesday October 2, where you can purchase an all-day ticket for just £34.00. The showjumping icons will also be doing a meet and greet on the HOYS Live Zone where they will also talk a bit about their season.

Aside from the Showjumping, the show will also see the return of Lorenzo ‘The Flying Frenchman’ as the headline display, as well as Mélie Philippot and her dancing duo Quizas and Diego, who will be performing the UK premiere performance of ‘My Little Sister’. With your ticket you can also get full-day access to the TopSpec arena and the Retail Village which showcases over 250 retail stands, plus the Meet the Horses Zone and the Live Zone.

To purchase your tickets and get access to this exclusive Showjumping Masterclass, call the Box Office on 0844 581 8282 or buy onlinehttps://hoys.co.uk/tickets/.

Double demonstration at Moorcroft

MOORCROFT Racehorse Welfare Centre at Huntingrove Stud, Slinfold, is holding a double demonstration there this Saturday June 29 at 10am. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the work that goes into retraining ex-racehorses there.
All proceeds go to help the centre’s retraining programme which  enables horses in the charity’s care to go on to a happy life beyond racing.

Details of Moorcroft’s double demonstration

There will be other attractions at the event, with a hog roast, marquee and stalls, and the opportunity to see at close quarters and fine retraining work done by Mary Frances at this worthy charity.
Tickets are still available for just £20 per person online at: https://www.tickettailor.com/events/moorcroftracehorse
Alternatively email:  moorcroftracehorse@gmail.com or call Mary on 07929 666408 to book.
This will be both an informative and fun day – with everyone welcome. It gives an opportunity to see the excellent retraining work done by this charity and also learn about future events at Moorcroft.

Maisie wins Red Mills Senior Newcomers second round

Weston Lawns Equitation Centre in Bulkington, Warwickshire proved to be incredibly popular over the weekend, playing host to another of this year’s Connolly’s RED MILLS Senior Newcomers Second Rounds which took place on Saturday and it was Maisie Drea of Chichester who fought off an enormous field of competitors to take the victory.

With a large starting field of 128 combinations, course designer Stephen Williams had an almighty task on his hands to produce a testing enough track to whittle the field down for the second round.

Maisie Drea and Caroe Z III on their way to victory at Weston Lawns

He succeeded in doing so as ten combinations went on to reach the final round and battle it out to gain one of two qualifying tickets available for the Connolly’s RED MILLS Senior Newcomers Championship Final held during Horse of the Year Show at the NEC in October.

Maisie from Chichester, West Sussex navigated the six- year-old British bred mare Caro Z III, owned by Barry Drea, round the track in text-book fashion using the mare’s naturally quick and nippy ability to post a winning time of 44.44 seconds.

This left Alex Thompson to pick up the second ticket on offer with Wendy Broughton’s Temple Bruer Amie, a nine- year-old British bred mare on which Alex took over the ride in December, after crossing the finish line in 46.02 seconds.

Michael Pender wins Hickstead Derby

Irish rider Michael Pender won the Al Shira’aa Derby at Hickstead on Sunday (June 23), becoming the youngest ever winner in the 59-year history of this famous showjumping class.

Marion Mould (1967 winner) and Michael Whitaker (1980) were both 20 years old when they won the Hickstead Derby, with Marion just a few months younger when she took the title, but teenager Michael is still three months shy of his 20th birthday.

Pender also followed in Michael Whitaker’s footsteps by winning the Al Shira’aa Derby at his first attempt, something that hasn’t been achieved since Whitaker’s win on Mon Santa nearly 40 years ago.

Michael Pender wins Al Shira’aa Derby on first attempt Photo: Spidge Photography

It was a thrilling renewal of the Al Shira’aa Derby, with three riders jumping clear – something that hasn’t happened since 1993. Pre-class favourite Shane Breen produced the first of the day’s clears but with his Derby debutant Golden Hawk rather than his established Derby horse Can Ya Makan, who was third last year.

Kildare-based Michael then ensured a jump-off by going clear with his Puissance specialist Hearton Du Bois Halleux, before Britain’s Harriet Nuttall added a third faultless round with her ultra-consistent A Touch Imperious.

Shane went first in the jump-off, setting off at a strong pace in the hope of putting the pressure on his two rivals. But when the Derby rails and the first part of the double of gates came down, his chance of lifting that coveted Boomerang Trophy looked to be over.

Michael then came in and delivered another clear, even though his horse took a flier at the water. Only Harriet could deny an Irish victory – and she has come tantalisingly close to winning every year since 2014, having never been out of the top three. But a foot in the huge Open Water proved costly for the Somerset rider, who had to settle for runner-up spot for the fourth time.

Michael picked up the £34,650 first prize as well as taking home the Al Shira’aa Trophy and having his name added to the Boomerang Trophy.

“It hasn’t really hit me yet, but it’s what every rider dreams of that comes here,” said Michael. “He’s done a lot of puissances, but this is the first time I’ve done something like this class with him. It means so much to win this – there’s so much history to the class, and so many good riders, and I’m just speechless. Getting up this morning, you don’t think it’s ever going to happen. I knew the horse wasn’t going to be very fast in the jump-off, so I knew I needed to try to go clear and put the pressure on Harriet. That’s what I did, and it paid off.”

Harriet was frustrated to come so close and miss out, but she has had a superb week after winning the Science Supplements Speed Derby on Saturday with Silver Lift. “A Touch Imperious has felt on really good form here, and he jumped a fantastic clear – probably his best round here,” she said.

Harriet Nutall winning the Science Supplements Speed Derby with Silver Lift
Photo: Spidge Photography

“If all is well, we’ll be back next year – with the way he’s jumping, why would you not? It’s a privilege to come to this show, and to have horses like Silver Lift and A Touch Imperious to do these classes on and be successful with.”

Shane Breen – who now has two extremely good horses to aim towards next year’s Al Shira’aa Derby – gave credit to his fellow competitors. “I feel sorry for Harriet; she’s been fantastic for so many years, but I’m delighted for Mikey,” he added.


Hannah wins Hickstead Amateur Championship

Horsham-based Hannah Tiley took top honours in the Harcour Hickstead Amateur Championship on Saturday of the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting

Hannah claimed the £500 top prize after an impressively quick 30.66 second clear round with the eleven-year-old Amaryllis III. Her fast time allowed her to edge into the lead, just 0.28 seconds ahead of second-placed Heidi Sellar and Posh Totty.

Hannah Tiley following her victory at the 2019  Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby meeting PHOTO:www.spidge.co.uk

It was a first win in the famous Longines International Arena for Tiley, who is a regular at the Sussex venue. “I’ve been second here twice, so to actually win is amazing,” she said.

Her long-awaited victory came aboard a horse she has produced through the grades herself – after a growth spurt ruled her out of pony classes. “I actually jumped Amaryllis in pony classes as a four-year-old, and then she grew quite a bit!” explained Hannah.

Hannah wins Amateur Championship

Horsham-based Hannah Tiley took top honours in the Harcour Hickstead Amateur Championship on Saturday of the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting

Hannah claimed the £500 top prize after an impressively quick 30.66 second clear round with the eleven-year-old Amaryllis III.

Her fast time allowed her to edge into the lead, just 0.28 seconds ahead of second-placed Heidi Sellar and Posh Totty.

Hannah Tiley receiving her prizes after winning at the Hickstead Derby meeting 2019
Image courtesy of www.spidge.co.uk

It was a first win in the famous Longines International Arena for Hannah, who is a regular at the Sussex venue. “I’ve been second here twice, so to actually win is amazing,” she says.

Her long-awaited victory comes aboard a horse she’s produced through the grades herself – after a growth spurt ruled her out of pony classes.

“I actually jumped Amaryllis in pony classes as a four-year-old, and then she grew quite a bit!” explained Hannah.

Impressive new stable block at Lavant House School

THE sun finally came out for Lavant House School  in time for the recent rebrand and launch of its impressive new stable block.

More than 150 visitors came to view and enjoy a tour of these new facilities, as well as chatting to staff and existing liveries about the new development.

New stable block at Lavant House School

This was followed by a locally sourced hog roast and a glass of prosecco, which were well received by everyone there.

This new facility has been a long-term aim for proprietor Lucy Thomson.  This indoor block of 24 stables offers even more facilities at this already established and popular business. The light, spacious stables will provide an exclusive livery option for clients while maintaining the happy, healthy ethos that is the backbone of the quality of care provided for all horses on site.

Visitor to Lavant House School stables meets one of the horses.
Photo: Lavant House School

With two tack rooms, a wash box and new club room, clients too will be able to enjoy the new facility away from the hustle and bustle of the main yard,

Lucy said: “It was with great delight that so many customers, suppliers and staff chose to give up their time to come and join us today to see this fabulous, state-of-art facility. A great deal of thought was put into the design of this bespoke stable block to enable those horses being kept inside, to feel as if they are still living outside – which always has very much been our USP.
” We allow our horses to live as nature intended: “where happy, healthy horses, thrive!”
The launch of the stable block coincided with the launch of the business’s additional new title of Lavant Equestrian with respective logo change to encompasses a more modern feel, both in name and look.
“As the business has developed, it has become so much more than just a riding school.
This established equestrian centre provides lessons, coaching for horse and rider, competitive training, horse sourcing service, competitions, a unique loaning scheme, and of course a high quality, fully supported, livery service.
The new name and logo can be seen to be line with its competitors, both locally and further afield.


Georgia wins Under 25 Masters at Hickstead

Hickstead-based Georgia Tame had a home victory on Saturday at the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting.

Eighteen horses and riders came forward to contest the coveted Al Shira’aa Under 25 Masters in the Longines International Arena, and although five would make it through to the fast-paced jump-off, one combination would prove unsurpassable.

Georgia Tame and 10-year-old gelding Clintofino sped around the 1.45m track to finish on a time of 36.75 seconds, nearly two seconds faster than their nearest rivals, international eventer Chuffy Clarke and Dirk II.

Georgia Tame after  victory  in the Under 25 Masters at the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby meeting 2019.
Photo: Spidge Photography   www.spidge.co.uk

“It’s just amazing to ride in the main arena, and even more amazing to win,” said Georgia, who has been based at Hickstead with top Irish rider Shane Breen for four years. “Even though I live here, it still feels so amazing.”

Clintofino is a new ride for Tame. “I’ve only ridden him three times in the ring,” she said, explaining that her mentor Shane Breen and his brother Trevor Breen also compete him.

“Hopefully now I’ve got some results with him, I’ll get to take him to some of the international shows and see how far he goes. I’m really pleased for the horse – he’s only just started coming into his own,” she added

The Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting’s last day is today, June 23.  It features international showjumping alongside national competition, showing championships and scurry driving. It is one of the biggest shows in Great Britain.