Showjumper Chloe Winchester has made a strong start to the prestigious Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby meeting, winning a showjumping championship class on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of last week.
The Gislingham rider, now based in Sheffield, kicked off with a win in the Equitop Myoplast Senior Foxhunter riding Sportsfield Our Clare on Wednesday, qualifying for Thursday’s Hickstead Novice Championship, which she also went on to win.
Winchester then claimed victory in Friday’s Clean Sheet 1.25m Open Championship in Hickstead’s famous international arena, jumping the fastest of seven double clear rounds riding Jacqueline Jones’ Dolanda.
Speaking about her achievement, Winchester said; “They’ve all jumped super this week.
“I’ve not been in the ring here since I won the Queen Elizabeth Cup two years ago so it’s really nice to be back.
“I’ve only had the ride (on Dolanda) for about two and a half weeks.
“My boyfriend, Matt, rode her in Spain, but I’ve stolen the ride! She’s a real girl’s horse now.
“She’s very competitive up to 1.40m. She’s not that fit at the moment and I’m still getting to know her but she’s such a nice mare — a real winner and so careful.
“She is really easy to deal with and I’ll aim for some national titles with her.”
Traditionally, the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby meeting is home to one of the world’s toughest and most prestigious showjumping competitions — the renowned Hickstead Derby, now in its 57th year, having been launched for the first time in 1961.
The event features a number of international showjumping classes, national classes for amateurs and young horses, as well as the elite showing championships.
In the region of 45,000 spectators flock to the Sussex showground for the Derby meeting each year, with around 15,000 of those arriving on the actual Al Shira’aa Derby day.