Holly Smith bounces back from break to win at Hickstead

Four months after breaking her leg in a

riding fall, Holly Smith has won the June 22nd feature class at the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting – the Bunn Leisure Derby Tankard. Holly was out of the saddle for 13 weeks

after breaking her leg in a fall at home back in February. But after extensive rehabilitation she has returned to top level competition, and there was no stopping the Leicestershire rider as she claimed the top prize in the 1.50m com- petition with the nine-year-old Quality Old Joker.

Holly was the fastest of seven riders in

the jump-off, finishing more than a second quicker than Ireland’s Billy Twomey (Eind- hoven GH) in second place. “He’s got such a big stride, and he was

exceptional out there – I have a lot of Irish horses who respond well to being dared,” Holly said about Quality Old Joker. “He’ll jump in the Bunn Leisure Derby Trial tomor- row, and probably have a crack at the Al Shira’aa Derby on Sunday.” The first international class of the show

was the Stoner Jewellers Vase, with the top prize going to Nottinghamshire’s Louise Say- well. Riding the 14-year-old stallion Peiter VI, Louise set a quick time of 71.83sec that no one else could match. Having been drawn 28th to go out of 49

starters, Louise had a long wait until her win was confirmed. “I wasn’t nervous watching, though I did think the time was beatable – I didn’t go all out. He goes into the ring and gives 110% every time. He made the turns and he’s just naturally fast – if I get it right with him he’ll win it.” The victory was significant for Louise,

who hasn’t won a big class at Hickstead since she was on ponies. “The last time I had a big win here it was on 12.2hhs,” she added. Polo player turned showjumper Max

Routledge also enjoyed a successful day at the All England Jumping Course. The Surrey- based rider won the Astore & Sons 1.35m Open Championship with Lord Of Arabia, as well as the Annual Grade C Championship on Centos Girl.

About Hickstead The All England Jumping Course at

Hickstead in West Sussex was founded in 1960 by Douglas Bunn, who had dreamed of creating a venue that could rival those on the continent. In 2010, Hickstead celebrated its 50th anniversary, having become known as the home of British showjumping. The show- ground has been the venue for several World and European Showjumping Championships. It now hosts two major international shows each year – the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting (22-25 June 2017) and the Longines Royal International Horse Show (25-31 July 2017); plus a national show in September known as the All England Jumping Champi- onships (31 August - 3 September 2017).

About Al Shira’aa Al Shira’aa Stables LLC is an Abu

Dhabi-based equestrian company dedicated to the support and promotion of all horses and equestrian sports. Based in Abu Dhabi, Al Shi- ra’aa has a heritage and love for the horse that goes back centuries. Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan founded the Al Shira’aa Stables and enjoys an active involvement in their development. Her Highness has worked hard to establish Al Shi- ra’aa’s reputation worldwide. In 2017 Her Highness hosted her own highly-successful in- ternational CSI4* show at Al Forsan Interna- tional Sports Resort, near Abu Dhabi. Her grandmother, Sheikha Fatima Bint

Mubarak, President of the General Women’s Union, Chief Executive Officer of the Family Development Foundation and President of the Higher Council for Motherhood and Child- hood and ‘Mother of the Nation’ this year, for

the fourth time, ran the Fatima Bint Mubarak Academy (FBMA) International Show Jumping Cup 2017. In keeping with FBMA’s broader goals, the competition provides a special plat- form for women, who form the majority of Emirati participants. Representing Al Shira’aa in the UK are Thomas O’Brien,

Supervisor of Al Shira’aa and Kate Moisson, UK Project Man- ager. Thomas has worked for Al Shira’aa since 2014 where he supervises a team of employees, the UK dressage and showjumpers as well as the horses that come from around the world for rest and recuperation. Kate Moisson, a chartered sur- veyor based in the southeast, was brought on board last year as a property consultant and now performs the role of Project Man- ager within the team. For more information about Al Shira’aa, visit the website or watch this inter- view.

win the Bunn Leisure Derby Tankard (c) Sian Hayden

Photo: Holly Smith and Quality Old Joker

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