Burke Bosses it in the Billy Stud Auction Star of the Future finals

Ireland's Jessica Burke won two young horse finals in a row today at the All England September Tour 

Jessica Burke & Billy Be Boss (4)

Ireland's Jessica Burke had a day to remember at Hickstead today, winning both the Five Year Old and Six Year Old divisions in the Billy Stud Auction Star of the Future championships.

Jessica had three horses through to the 11-strong jump-off in the Six Year Olds, with last to go Billy Be Boss proving the quickest of all. It was a fabulous result for Hickstead’s Executive Director Lizzie Bunn, who bought Billy Be Boss in the Billy Stud auction in 2020.

It was only the second time Jessica has ridden the Billy Congo-sired gelding. “He’s a very brave and scopey horse, and he felt brilliant in the warm-up so I knew I could really have a go on him,” she said.

In the Five Year Old section, Jessica’s win came courtesy of Billy Candle, who won by more than 4sec. “I only started riding her a month ago, but she’s a really cool horse – such a fighter, quite feisty but so careful,” she said.

Eleven horses jumped double clear to share the honours in the NEXGEN Four Year Old Star of the Future, including CHF Carraigdown Louis for Jessica Burke and Billy Mojito with Connie Gill, another recent auction purchase for Lizzie Bunn.

Olympic event rider Gemma Stevens (nee Tattersall) added another Hickstead victory to her tally, winning the Breen Equestrian 1.40m Open with MGH Candy Girl.

The West Sussex-based rider combines showjumping with her top-level eventing career, and is no stranger to success in the Longines International Arena. Back in July she won the Ashby Underwriting Eventers’ Challenge, and today she proved her Hickstead prowess by winning the opening class of the day, which acts as a qualifier for this Sunday’s Sussex Cup.

A total of 22 riders went clear in the first round, with Gemma and MGH Candy Girl finishing more than a second faster than runner-up Philip Spivey on Billy Pearl. The win made up for Gemma having missed out on winning Thursday’s 1.40m class, which went to John Crippen and Ici Van De Rikse.

“Yesterday she jumped phenomenally well and was actually 2.5sec faster than anyone else but she just touched the last fence!” explained Gemma. “So today we went quick but not flat out. She’s amazing, such a careful jumper and naturally fast.”

The All England Jumping Tour runs from 31 August – 4 September and then from 7 - 11 September, with £40,000 worth of prizemoney on offer across the two weeks of the show.

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