8 months ago



SHOWJUMPING INTERNATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS 31 January-4 February Amanda Derbyshire lands the WEF Challenge Cup on the ‘adjustable’ Luibanta H, by Luidam Cita Daniel Coyle and Ben Maher post some impressive wins for this side of the Atlantic CSI4* CP Palm Beach Masters, Deeridge Farms, Wellington, USA Derbyshire banks a win British rider Amanda Derbyshire takes the spoils on American soil CSI4* Winter Equestrian Festival week 4, Palm Beach International EC, Florida, USA GREAT BRITAIN’S Amanda Derbyshire, fresh from a return to home soil to compete at Olympia and Liverpool, notched up a superb victory in the $70,000 (£62,000) Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup riding Luibanta BH. Jumping on the venue’s turf arena, Amanda and the 10-yearold Irish sport horse (Luidam x Abantos), who was bought from Ellen Whitaker, held off nine jump-off rivals for victory, but there was a nerve-racking run to the finish. “I planned seven strides to the last and I turned really tight into the double, which made her land a little shallow coming out,” Amanda said. “I decided still to try to do seven, so I was just telling her we could do it!” Ireland’s Kevin Babington took the runner-up spot with another Irish-bred, Super Chilled, by Gelvin Clover, while Amber Harte (USA) and Cafino came third. “At the end of last summer Luibanta really stepped up to doing whatever grands prix we have asked of her,” said 30-year-old Amanda, who hopes ‘Even if you really let her go, she will always come back to you’ AMANDA DERBYSHIRE to represent Great Britain in the Nations Cup at WEF at the beginning of March. “We’re going to save her, and hopefully she’ll last a long time. “She’s really fast because she’s so easy to turn and so athletic and adjustable; even if you really let her go, she’ll always come back to you, which is a huge advantage so I can open her up and then ask her to turn tightly.” IN BRIEF BIG WINS AND A NEWBORN BABY IN Europe, the penultimate leg of the World Cup series went to Belgium’s Pieter Devos (Espoir). In Sunday’s grand prix, Harrie Smolders took top spot with Emerald NOP, while Robert Whitaker and Catwalk IV collected fourth, just 1.5 seconds off the pace, after JUST down the road from WEF, US-based Irishman Daniel Coyle secured victory in the $220,000 (£195,000) Longines FEI World Cup qualifier at the CSI3* in Deerridge, Wellington, with the 12-year-old mare Cita (Casall x Pik Ramiro). The 23-year-old collected the $72,600 (£64,300) top prize — his first World Cup — by 0.35sec from USA’s last drawn Laura Kraut (Confu) and Margie Goldstein-Engle (Royce) in a five-way jump-off over a track designed by Irishman Alan Wade. “It’s an amazing feeling to beat any one of these two women, and everybody in that jump-off,” he said. “I saw Margie’s round and thought that was going to be tough to beat, let alone McLain [Ward] and Laura, [who were jumping] after me. “I did one less stride [than Laura] in the first line and I think that’s only the real place that I got her,” he said. “I was really tight back to the third jump, and then I just tried to smooth out the finish instead of trying to do something crazy.” British number two rider Ben Maher teamed up with his own and Jane Clark’s 15-year-old stallion Tic Tac for victory in the 1.60m qualifier, snatching an $11,550 paycheque, just days after his 35th birthday. a 14-strong jump-off. Mark McAuley took just four days to record his first win since becoming a first-time dad. His new wife Charlotte gave birth on Wednesday and, having soared into the lead on Sunday’s accumulator with her nine-year-old Valentino Tuiliere, Mark jumped on a plane home, leaving his team-mate Bertram Allen to attend the prizegiving on his behalf. A week to remember for Mark! Pictures by Thierry Billet and Kathy Russell Photography 58 Horse & Hound 8 February 2018

scores for Doyle Ben Maher enjoys a 1.60m victory on his Rio 2016 partner Tic Tac Daniel Coyle bags the World Cup qualifier on Cita “It’s been a lean time for me over the past year or so and I haven’t sat up here very often,” said Ben, who was last to go in a five-horse jump-off with his 2016 Olympic partner. “Sometimes jump-offs just go right. Every time I turned, I picked up the first distance. Tic Tac covers the ground and it went our way today. “Tic Tac goes his own way, he has his own style,” explained Ben, who now uses the son of Clinton sparingly. “When he come to me from Leslie Howard, he had to go very fast to build for the team for Rio. He’s 15 years old now so I think you have to protect him a little bit. He jumped one small round a week ago and then straight into this class today. “Maybe we’ll head over [to Europe] and jump some Nations Cups, Global Champions Tour, that kind of thing. I don’t have so many old horses to choose from right now, so we’ll pick and choose where to go.” H&H ONLY IN HORSE & HOUND ‘We need the crowd behind our team’ Peter Charles on why Nations Cup competitions are such dream occasions I’VE been lucky enough to ride on a Dublin Aga Khan winning Nations Cup team on six occasions: three times for Ireland and three for Britain. I can personally say it’s one of the best experiences for a showjumper. So the news that Hickstead is moving its superleague leg to the Sunday of the Royal International has put a smile on my face. We should embrace this opportunity to make it the most important outdoor spectacle we can put on in showjumping. It should be the dream of every young rider to participate in that parade of teams in the main ring and go on to represent their country. Hopefully, when all the back rings have finished, they will have the opportunity to stay on, watch, and gain some inspiration. I finished school at 15 — through no fault of my own — and left Liverpool to work with Peter Charles was a member of the gold medal-winning British team at the 2012 London Olympics. He also won three consecutive Hickstead Derbys in 2001, 2002 and 2003. OPINION horses in Ireland. I was lucky enough to be one of a group of young lads who were all starting at the bottom and trying to work their way to the top. I remember well going to Dublin Horse Show to see the Nations Cup — one of the biggest sporting events in Ireland — and watching the whole showground come to a standstill as Eddie Macken, Paul Darragh, Con Power and James Kernan paraded in front of the band. As a young boy, perched up in a tree, it was incredible to see them go on to win the Aga Khan trophy. It was the best thing I could imagine, and it gave me more motivation to succeed than ever. The whole of Ireland was behind that team: it was on the news; the stands were packed and the streets were packed. The responsibility to win was enormous but the rewards were fantastic. There was widespread recognition and the horses became household names. UNIQUE ATMOSPHERE WHEN I moved back to England aged 21, Hickstead’s Nations Cup used to be in the Sunday slot, before it was replaced by the King George V Gold Cup. I can recall the outside rings being finished and seeing Harvey Smith and David Broome jumping on the team, with the support of a full house. The atmosphere was fantastic then — a bit like Derby day. I’m in the unusual position of having ridden both for Ireland at Dublin and for Britain at Hickstead. With the level of crowd participation, the history of the event and the buy-in of all the riders, the atmosphere at Dublin is undoubtedly unique. No one ever shies off taking a team place there. Hopefully, moving the event to the Sunday at Hickstead will now bring back some of the prestige and allow people to give the competition the focus and respect it deserves. If we build the day up to really mean something, then owners and riders will buy in and we’ll get the likes of Scott Brash and Ben Maher to put their best foot forward. We should get as many ex-riders as possible to support it and give interviews. I would like to see a lot of Union flags waving in the stands for the parade — we need a partisan crowd behind our team and there’s no reason we can’t make this a fantastic British showjumping day. H&H NEXT WEEK Regular columnist William Funnell 8 February 2018 Horse & Hound 59

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