Pearl shines for Spivey in Hickstead double

Philip Spivey got the show off to a fine start with a double of 1.40m wins with Billy Pearl

Philip Spivey & Billy Pearl C B&H (7)

Philip Spivey and the 10-year-old mare Billy Pearl won back-to-back titles in the Breen Equestrian 1.40m Open classes, taking the top spot on both Thursday and Friday.

Fifteen of the 52 starters jumped clear in the first round in Thursday’s competition, which was the first class to take place in the International Arena. Ten of these produced a double clear, with Philip proving fastest of them all in 32.18sec, just ahead of runner-up Shane Breen and Scarteen II (32.70sec.)

Philip also took third place with UFO 192, meaning the top three spots all went to grey horses.

Friday’s Table A edition was even tighter at the top end, with less than half a second separating the top three. Philip’s time of 66.25sec was good enough to keep him at the top of the line-up, though this time it was Gemma Ellison and Helsinki VDL who took the runner-up spot (66.43sec) ahead of Shane and Scarteen II (66.61sec).

“I've been riding her for about a year now, we bought her from The Billy Stud as a six-year-old,” Philip explained. “She’s just stepping up to this level and she's getting better and better.

It’s been a great show for Essex-based Spivey so far, as he also picked up a win in the first qualifier for the Hickstead 1.30m Open Championship, riding Billy Van Gogh.

“They're all jumping really well at the moment, and we've got a lovely team of horses. Long may it last!” Philip added.

Though Sarah Hancock’s Billy Pearl, who is by Cevin Z, obviously relishes the open space of the International Arena, she is pretty adaptable, and the plan is to step her up to go on an Autumn Tour and start doing some ranking classes. “She excels in most arenas, she's just naturally quick. I just sit there and she cruises around! It's a joy to ride her,” added Philip.

The Billy Stud Auction Star of the Future Championships also took place on Friday, with the Five Year Old division going to Zoe Megihan and Breen Equestrian’s BE Thiassi. Only three horses jumped clear in the first round, with Zoe finishing some six seconds quicker than Vicky Lovegrove and Do It Rollebeek Z. 

“I started riding her in January and did a few shows, then in March she went to have some embryos taken so she's only been back for a month. This is her second show back, so it was a big ask for her but she was amazing,” said Zoe, who is a stable jockey at Breen Equestrian.

The Six Year Old title went to Lottie Tutt and the Billy Stud's Billy Dynamite, who proved to be explosively quick round the jump-off track. Their time of 39.12sec put them narrowly ahead of Nicole Pavitt and Cornet of Follyfoot (39.57sec). Lady riders dominated in this class, filling the top six places and producing nine out of the 14 first round clears.  

In the Four Year Olds, seven horses jumped clear to share the first prize.

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