Seaford College sweeps the board at Hickstead

Young equestrian talents came forward for the 57th Hurst College National Schools and Pony Club Jumping Championship today at Hickstead.  

Seaford College Winners 3 Cropped

Seaford College made it a one-two in the Hurst College National Junior Schools Jumping Championship today at Hickstead, making it a first win in this competition for the West Sussex-based school.

The winning foursome of Emma Perrett (Ruby), Bella Crowley (Access Blue), Jack Dace (Meelickisland Cornrake) and Oliver Allison (Lislarkin Lad) also cemented team honours with a clean sweep in the individual final.

With three clear rounds in the first round, the team had done enough to take the win ahead of their schoolmates in the Seaford College Red team, who finished on a total of four faults for second place.  

In the jump-off, speed was of the essence and notably the top three riders all hailed from a racing family. Emma Perrett, 13, and Bella Crowley, 11, are cousins, and both are the grandchildren of the trainer Guy Harwood. Emma is the daughter of jockey Mark Perrett and amateur jockey-turned-trainer Amanda Perrett, while Bella is the daughter of top jockey Jim Crowley. Emma was last to go, and she finished in a time of 32.37sec to take the win ahead of Bella on 32.95sec.

In third place was team debutant Jack Dace, who finished clear in a time of 33.78 sec. Jack is another who hails from a racing family - his father Luke Dace is a racehorse trainer, while Jack has been successful on the pony racing circuit.  

Seaford then crowned an unforgettable day when also winning the Hickstead Elite 1.00m NSEA Team Championship. Emma and Bella were once again part of the winning team, alongside 16-year-old Emma Nelson (Amerio III) and 15-year-old Lulu James (Big Town Rebel).

“This is my first time jumping at Hickstead, I’ve loved it and all the horses have jumped really well today,” said Emma Nelson.

Millfield School took both team and individual titles today in the Senior Schools division. The Somerset school has an excellent record at these championships, winning the senior title in 2016 and 2017, and the junior title in 2018 and 2019.

At this year’s championships, Hatty Kingsford took the individual title with her eventing mare Killycloghan Classic Melody, with team-mates Freya Barry (Delilah), Tara Kay (Amandas) and Sofia Scriven (Rock DJ) joining her on the winning team.

Hatty, 15, and Tara, 16, had been part of the winning junior team in 2019, and after last year’s competition was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic they were finally able to return to add another Hickstead title to their record. Meanwhile, Fifteen-year-old Freya and Sofia, 17, were making their first appearance in this competition.

“She was an absolute superstar today, I was quite nervous going in but she jumped two super double clears with some tight turns in the second round to make us the individual winners too,” said Hatty.

Tara was second individually, with Freya finishing fourth behind Mayfield School's Ella Mulder.

In the Hurst College National Pony Club Championship, local branch the Crawley and Horsham Hunt took the team honours. The trio of Briony Martin (Ballymack Billy), Andrew Lynch (Lorindo) and Ella Bubb (Happiness) finished on a total of 8 faults to finish ahead of the Bicester and Warden Hill branch in second.

Ella, who events up to intermediate, came close to a winning double but had to settle for second place in the individual title behind Bicester & Warden Hill rider Christina Rawding and CES Wicked.

Christina, 17, who is the grandniece of legendary racing driver Stirling Moss, was an impressive 5sec quicker in the jump-off. “It’s my third time here for the Pony Club competition, but I’ve only had this horse for a month. Every horse goes differently in this main ring so I didn’t have high expectations,” she said. “I’d like to keep getting to know each other and keep progressing up the levels.”

Scarlet Clark-Murphy’s ride Ballyleak Silver looked as good as ever when claiming The Hickstead Elite 1.10m NSEA Individual Championship. The 20-year-old grey gelding saw off a strong field of 30 to take the spoils from an early draw.

For full results, click here.

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