His first win in the class came in 2016 on Chessy 17, and this time it was Gentleman VH Veldof who carried David to victory, despite the disadvantage of an early draw.
Having netted the first clear of the competition, David was first to go against the clock in the second round. He set a tough time of 41.05 to put pressure on the others, and while Mark Edwards was able to go quicker, a fence down dropped him to fourth place.
Helen Tredwell (Larksong) took second, with Will Fletcher – whose mother Tina won the Queen Elizabeth II Cup three times – taking third place on Persimmon.
For Irishman David, the All England Jumping Course is a home from home – he is based nearby in West Sussex, and was formerly a stable jockey for Hickstead’s Shane Breen. He has only had the ride on Gentleman VH Veldof for a few weeks.
“He landed on the Monday before the Al Shira’aa Derby show in June, so that was our first show with him. I really, really like him. For such a short period together, we seem to have clicked quite well,” he says. “All the girls absolutely love him, so he must be a bit of a gentleman! For me, he’s absolutely lovely to work with. Michael Whitaker rode him before me, so I went back and watched a couple of videos of him riding him. Obviously I can’t copy him, but it gave me some ideas!”
Ellen Whitaker made a welcome return to winning in the Longines International Arena when she claimed the top spot in the BEMER Speed Classic. Her time of 59.80sec put her clear of a stellar line-up of German stars, including runner-up Marcus Ehning, David Will in third and Michael Jung in fourth.
Whitaker’s winning ride was Diola, who is the daughter of Locarno – the horse who took Ellen to second place in her first ever Hickstead Derby when she was just 18 years old.
“It’s always nice to be in first place in the international arena at Hickstead - it just happens to have been a while since my last one!” said Ellen. “But it’s a lovely win for a few reasons – one, because it’s been a tricky route back, two, because she’s a homebred mare, and three, because her half-bred sister Lavano won it with my brother Joe a few years ago. Both are by Locarno, who loved that arena and his offspring also do.”
Ellen had a lot of success as a young rider and made a successful switch to senior competition, but she has had a bit of time out from competing at the highest level after having her two sons. Now she is back at the top, having been longlisted for the European championships, and her win at Hickstead today proves she’s on great form. “It’s nice to go into a class like that with a fighting chance and feel like myself again - to feel at home,” added Ellen.
Source: press release