The klaxon started many riders in the International ring at Hickstead on Thursday. The inaugural FEI class of the 2013 season was the Stoner Jewllers Vase, a 1.45m Table A speed class. The course presented 13 clear rounds out of a field of 61. In the end Shane Breen for Ireland, with Zarnita posted the fastest time. Breen is a familiar sight in the top placings at Hickstead, and no doubt being based on the grounds makes him feel at home in the International ring, helping him to victory. Second place went to Angelie Von Essen and Nickie Mill Aer, third to Valentino IX and Paul Crago. British rider Charlotte Healy and Carus Royale and Norway’s Geir Gulliksen and his fabulous L’Espoir rounded out the top five placings.
The 1.50m Bunn Leisure Derby Tankard saw 44 riders go head to head over a tough course featuring the iconic Hickstead planks and a tight time allowed. The Hickstead planks did fall, although it was the fairly innocuous Bunn Leisure oxer at fence 5 that proved to be the downfall of several riders. Nine riders made it through to the jump off, including veterans Shane Breen, Dermott Lennon and Abdullah Waleed Sharbatly. The latter was the victor, posting a rapid time on the newly acquired Chesterfield. When asked about his new mount he said, “Every time she goes into the ring she’s in top form.” Hickstead is the pair’s fourth outing together and already Sharbatly is aiming her to compete as a second string grand prix horse to Sultan. He will debut his other new acquisition, Exclusive, in the Bunn Leisure Derby Trial tomorrow, with the view of assessing whether she will contest the Hicktead Derby on Sunday.
Text by Celeste Wilkins
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