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Matthew Sampson denies former winners in British Speed Derby at Hickstead

Saturday, 24 June 2017
CSI4* Hickstead 2017

Photo (c) Nigel Goddard Matthew Sampson and Topflight True Carlo. Photo (c) Nigel Goddard.

Yorkshire rider Matthew Sampson had his name added to the roll of honour in the British Speed Derby today at Hickstead.

The 26-year-old was drawn 11th out of 30 riders in today’s feature class, but he set a blisteringly quick time of 92.73sec on Topflight True Carlo (Theodor x Cavaletto) to put pressure on his later rivals.

Matthew then had a nervous wait right until the very end of the class, with the 2014 and 2015 winner Guy Williams on Casper De Muze (Triomphe de Muze x Corsaire de Vaubain) and last year’s Speed Derby victor Harriet Nuttall on Silver Lift (Esay Lift x Silver Cloud) the last riders to go.

When Guy felt his dual champion horse tiring round the lengthy, twisty course he eased up a bit, finishing clear in 95.59sec. Only Harriet could stop Matthew from lifting the trophy, and she set off meaning business with the grey gelding Silver Lift. She ended up producing the quickest time of the day in 90.75sec, but a four-second penalty for knocking down a fence relegated her to second place.

It was a first major international win at Hickstead for Matthew, who picked up the ride on Topflight True Carlo at the last minute when the horse’s regular rider couldn’t compete in the class.

“I’ve been coming here to Hickstead since I was a little kid and watching it on television – this class is one that everyone wants to win,” said Matthew, who previously rode the horse a few years back and came third in this class behind Guy and Harriet in 2014. “Everything came together today, and he loves that arena.”

The horse’s owner Christine Spanner added: “I’m speechless. I’ve watched this class since I was a young child – I can’t thank Matt enough for what he’s done. I’ve had the horse since he was five months old, and he’s 13 now. I still ride him every day, and competed him in showjumping, eventing, hunting, team chasing - you name it.”

Guy Williams did have cause for celebration earlier on today when he won the Tom Hudson Derby Trophy with new ride Rouge De Ravel (Ultimo van Ter Moude x Quouglof Rouge).

Guy has only had the ride on the 12-year-old stallion since April, but already they’ve picked up some superb results and Guy ranks him as “one of the best horses I’ve had”.

“He’s only ever jumped 1.35m and 1.40m classes so this was the biggest course he’s seen, but he’s brave, he’s competitive, he jumps the biggest things and just keeps winning. He doesn’t spook but he’s quite feisty which I think helps,” Guy added.  

Guy plans to bring him back to Hickstead next month for the Longines King George V Gold Cup, the Grand Prix finale of the Longines Royal International Horse Show (25-30 July).


Source: Press release Hickstead Press Office / Picture © Craig Payne 

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