Breen does the double in Bunn Leisure Derby Trial

Shane Breen came out on top of today's feature class, furthering his credentials for an Al Shira'aa Derby win... 

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Ireland’s Shane Breen came out on top of the Bunn Leisure Derby Trial for the second year in a row – albeit with a different horse.

Twelve months ago Shane took the title with Can Ya Makan, but this year it was Golden Hawk who swept to victory in easy style.

Kelvin Bywater’s track took its toll today, with Shane and Graham Gillespie delivering the only clear rounds of 43 starters. When Graham opted not to come back to jump off against the clock, Shane merely had to complete the second round to take the win.

“Golden Hawk has loads of experience,” said Shane, who has competed the horse in international Grands Prix and Nations Cup. “This is well within his capabilities, and he really likes this arena. For Graham to give me a free pass to the winners’ enclosure was quite nice of him!”

The Bunn Leisure Derby Trial acts as a qualifier for Sunday’s Al Shira’aa Derby, one of the most famous classes in British showjumping, and both riders have got their sights firmly on this major prize.

“My horse has just done a string of shows, so the aim was just to do a bit of training today and set up nicely for the Al Shira’aa Derby, which I think we’ve done today,” said Graham. “It was hard to give it to Shane, though!”

Shane, who came third in the Derby last year and was runner-up in the Hamburg Derby in May with Can Ya Makan, is among the favourites for this year’s class.

“I think I have two great chances in Can Ya Makan and Golden Hawk, and I’m looking forward to it. Golden Hawk has never done a Derby, but he has all the ability. I think if I get it right, both of them could have a clear round. Of all the years I’ve done this class, this is definitely the biggest chance I’ve ever had, with these two horses. If I don’t win it this year or next year, I might have to give them to my brother!” Shane said of younger sibling Trevor, who won the Hickstead Derby in 2014 and 2015.  

Another former Derby winner was back in winning form this afternoon, with 2010 champion Guy Williams taking the Bunn Leisure Derby Two Phase with Rouge De Ravel.

Williams is a formidable force against the clock, and there was no catching him today – even though he had the disadvantage of being the first competitor to go, he set a blisteringly quick time of 33.57sec. The reigning Science Supplements Speed Derby champion Matthew Sampson came closest to Guy’s time, crossing the finish in 33.84sec on Valse De Pepinvast.

Guy had been aiming Rouge De Revel for tomorrow’s CMH.TV Master’s Trophy. “Rouge wins a lot of Grands Prix, and I’d brought him for the class tomorrow - but he was in his stable bucking and he’s a bit feisty, so I thought I would give him a little spin and let him enjoy himself,” said Guy. “I like to win at Hickstead, though, whatever class! I come here with my family, and I’m very close to the Bunns, so I like to go in the main ring and win what I can."

Hickstead used to be his local show when he lived in Canterbury but Guy has been based in France for the past five years – however, he is planning a move back to Great Britain.

Saturday’s feature class is the Science Supplements Speed Derby, which takes place at 3.30pm, while the £23,000 CMH.TV Master’s Trophy takes place at 11.20am.

The action will be streamed live on ClipMyHorse.TV and Hickstead.TV, while tickets are available on the gate for those who wish to come to the showground to watch the action.

 

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