Winners galore at Hickstead's season finale

The All England Jumping Championships cater for all levels, from amateurs competing at 1m level up to leading international riders on their up-and-coming horses. One such rider was victorious in the opening day's All England 1.40m Open - namely David McPherson and Undicci.

The horse is owned by In Showjumpers, which is headed up by former international rider Duncan Inglis. "We have been putting some miles on Undicci's clock with some encouraging results this season and will be progressing his competing at international level in the forseeable future," said David.

Olivia Gent took the Light Legacy All England Five Year Old Championship, sponsored by Brendon Stud, riding Ben Bick's Canturo Spirit. The mare was bought last year as a four-year-old from Carron Nicol, and the win was the combination's biggest victory to date.

"The course was strong and tricky," said Olivia, who added that she would never miss a Hickstead show. "I'm always here watching even if I'm not competing. Canturo Spirit will now have a holiday and we will aim him at the Six Year Old classes here next year."

Louise Pavitt was crowned The All England 6 & 7 Year Old Champion, riding the Brendon Stud's Sussex Caretino. The combination took the Six Year Old title at both the British Jumping Derby Meeting and the All England Jumping Championships last year.

Louise and Sussex Caretino have also qualified for the Seven Year Old final at Horse of the Year Show in October.

Hickstead regular Jane Annett added another win to her tally after securing victory in the All England 1.40m Open.

"I'm extremely happy, particularly after Zidane had been a 'little bit' naughty on the first day," said Jane, who has had the ride on the quirky horse for five years, and won the Bunn Leisure Derby Tankard with him in 2011.

Jane was busy competing in another class and she missed the coursewalk for the 1.40m Open, so had to rely on one of her fellow competitors for pointers. "James Fisher told me the course - now he'll probably want some of the prize money!" she joked.

She heaped praise on the All England Jumping Championships, which are now in their third year. "They're very good indeed," Jane said. "It's great being able to jump young horses in the main ring, and giving them the chance to compete at Hickstead. We need more shows like it."

Clear rounds were at a premium in the Douglas Bunn 1.35m Challenge, a class which features some of Hickstead's permanent obstacles, including the Derby bank. In the end only four horses jumped clear, with the fastest of these by Biba McCaul and Annie Oakley II.

Biba has had the toweringly tall chestnut mare for around four years, and has had some success in 1.30m classes, but today's win is Annie Oakley's biggest to date. "I thought this class would suit her as it's a bit more challenging for her, and she's so bold so I knew she wouldn't stop at anything. It was wicked riding her in the International Arena, as I was able to use the space and really let her flow," said Biba, who has recently made the decision to set up full-time as a rider, and is based locally in Crowborough.

Annie Oakley II came from Ireland and was produced by Brian Lear. "She's pretty sharp when you're riding her, but as soon as you get off she's a gentle giant," added Biba, who now has her sights set on Hickstead's most famous class. "I've always said I'd like to bring her to do the Derby, but maybe we'll start with the Speed Derby first."

The All England 1.20m Amateur Championship was won by Charlotte Addis and Bronze Spirit. Charlotte has only had the ride for three weeks. "He has done very little in the past two years after having colic surgery," she said.

The 13-year-old gelding had previously been competed by his owner Fiona Winter at Newcomers and Foxhunter level.

The Animo All England 1.10m Amateur Championship was headed by 14-year-old Emma Howell and Vieux II. Another brand new partnership, Emma got 'Rio' from Holland last month. "I'd never sat on anything like him," she said. "He's a bit proud of himself, he likes looking at his reflection in mirrors!"

It was the first time Emma had ever jumped in the International Arena. "I can't believe it, I've never won anything like this before, I've always wanted a sash and a rug," she added, after being presented with a stylish pale blue rug from sponsors Animo.

Despite racing round to do a fast double clear, Bonnie III was still full of energy during the prizegiving for the All England 1.00m Open Championships. The grey mare secured riding instructor Melissa Garry first place, while her other ride Kirsch was third.

Melissa and Bonnie III are another newly-formed team, with the Tatsfield-based rider getting the ride just a few weeks previously. "I'm still getting used to her and working out how fast she can go and turn," said the rider.

The mare's owner, Nicola Waring, got the mare from Ireland as a six-year-old. "She has been very consistent with me up to 1.20m, but now I've put a better jockey on her!" said Nicola.

Click here to view the full results.

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