Wide-margin win for Walters in Douglas Bunn Memorial Challenge

The tricky course proved to be no problem for the eventer-turned-showjumper and her experienced mare. 

Abigail Walters & Renkum Miretta (3)

Former event rider Abi Walters won today’s Douglas Bunn 1.35m Memorial Challenge, by a clear margin of more than 5sec.

The course, which features many of the Al Shira’aa Derby fences set at a lower height, proved to be no problem for Abi and her winning ride, the 12-year-old mare Renkum Miretta. Despite being drawn third to go, the pair delivered a fast clear in a time of 88.98sec and no one else could come close. Nicola Wilson finished runner-up with Horace Slughorn (94.07), just in front of Georgina Ellis and Fireball X, who were 0.02 sec in arrears.

“She’s been round this course a couple of times so she knew where she was going,” said Abi, who had an unlucky fall later on in the class with her second ride. “It was that horse’s first time in this class and I wasn’t sure how she’d cope, but she was actually going really well then just had a bit of a tip up at the end at the Devil’s Dyke,” she added.  

In the All England Seven Year Old Championship, Nicole Lockhead Anderson and Emerald Irish Cruise repeated their win from last week, after a close-fought jump-off battle with Jessica Burke and Billy Etna. Nicole and Jessica have both picked up a number of wins apiece at the All England September Tour, and were the only riders in the class to produce double clears.

“She’s amazing, she loves jumping and she’s so careful. It’s easy when they’re as talented as she is,” said Nicole, who is now aiming to win Sunday’s All England Grand Prix, the class she won 12 months ago.

The first class of the day, the HY Equestrian 1.10m Amateur Championship, went to Briony Martin and Limmerick Dawn. “She was brilliant, I was coming to the last and I just couldn't see a stride and I just kicked and she did it all for me,” she said. “It’s a new partnership and I’ve only had her for a month, but we’ve done a few shows together and already had some good results, so I’m excited to see what the future holds.”

With the only double clear, Jasmine Leay Parkinson and Imagine Hof Ter Zeedycke were the decisive winners of the All England 1.20m Amateur Championship. Just three of the 32 starters made it into the jump-off. “This is my first time at Hickstead, so I was really excited to just jump here in the final let alone to win it,” said Jasmine. “I knew there was only one clear round before I went in the first round, so I was a bit nervous, but he just jumped out of his skin. It was big but a forward-flowing course and it really suited him. I think he knew today was a big day, and he tried really hard.”

The day drew to a close with the All England 1.00m Open Championship, which went to Nicolas Edwards and Loughgarahillview Lilly. Last to go, the pair managed to shave 0.2sec off runner-up January Baxendale and Jurioso W’s leading time to take the title.  

“The first time I sat on her in the ring was on Wednesday. I train the girl who owns her, and she jumped her here last week but she’s gone back to school,” explained Nicholas.

The show concludes tomorrow, with the action livestreamed throughout on Hickstead.TV and ClipMyHorse.TV. Admission and parking is free to spectators.

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