The crowd at Hickstead was treated to a thrilling afternoon of showjumping in the Bunn Leisure Speed Derby, with Matt Sampson taking the title for the second year running.

Speed Derby champion

Once again Matt was riding Topflight True Carlo, who is a former event horse owned by Christine Spanner.

A total of 31 starters came forward for the class, which features many of the Derby fences, such as the Irish Bank water, and Hickstead planks.

The class saw a number of thrills and spills, with no clear rounds, six eliminations and one retiral. By the half way stage, Paul Crago was in the lead with a time of 98.97sec on Valentino IX, however a number of former winners were still to come.

Four-time Speed Derby champion Guy Williams saw his chances of a fifth victory vanish when Casper De Muze knocked down four fences to finish out of the placings. Similarly, Harriet Nuttall had an uncharacteristic three jumps down to end up fifth on her 2016 winner Silver Lift.

Last to go was Matt Sampson, who rode the round of his life, but had just one fence down to finish on a winning time of 96.58sec.

Thrills and spills

Last year Matt hadn’t sat on the Topflight True Carlo for three years, but this time he had a little more preparation!

“I just thought I’d try to do a similar round to last year and luckily it paid off,” said Matthew. “I was quick enough even with one fence down.

“It was a lot more pressure this year to be honest, even walking round the showground people were saying ‘I can’t wait to see you on Saturday’.”

Don’t worry if you didn’t make it to Hickstead, we are showing highlights of this thrilling competition on 11 July at 9pm on Horse & Country TV and Amazon Video

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