Shane, 44, is based at Hickstead Place and married to Chloe Breen, who is the daughter of All England Jumping Course founder Douglas Bunn. Breen has clocked up a number of international wins here at his ‘home’ showground, but this was his first major win at Hickstead since claiming the honours in both the Derby Trial and the Queen Elizabeth II Cup in 2013.
Five riders jumped clear in first round of the Bunn Leisure Derby Trial today, though William Funnell – one of the leading contenders for Sunday’s Al Shira’aa Derby – chose not to come forward for the jump-off.
Two of the Al Shira’aa Derby’s leading ladies were among the remaining four, with Holly Smith setting the pace with a clear in a time of 59.59sec with Hearts Destiny, and Harriet Nuttall opting for a steady clear with A Touch Imperious. With Ireland’s Richard Howley collecting 16 faults in the jump-off, it paved the way for Shane who went clear in 57.76sec to take the win on Can Ya Makan.
“In the beginning, the horse and me didn’t get on so great so Georgia Tame rode him a few times. Dublin was our breakthrough show and he’s been great for me since then,” said Shane. “This was my first time jumping him in this ring and he was very comfortable in himself. I thought the jump-off would suit him because he can use his length of stride. Holly Smith said she’d gone quite quick, and when she says quite quick you know she means very quick! We just got into a good rhythm, a good groove and he was perfect. He’s super quick, nice in his mouth, very soft to ride and he’s got great balance – he’d be some dressage horse.”
Shane now has his sights set on Sunday’s grand finale, the Al Shira’aa Derby. He has had eight top 10 placings in Hickstead’s iconic Derby class, including finishing equal second in 2011, but has yet to lift the trophy. Breen now hopes to ride Can Ya Makan in the Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup and the Longines FEI Nations Cup of Great Britain at Hickstead’s five-star show next month.
The top-35 horses in today’s feature class have automatically qualified for the Al Shira’aa Derby, which takes place on Sunday afternoon.
A huge field of 71 starters came forward for the afternoon’s Bunn Leisure Derby Two-Phase, with women riders dominating the line-up.
It was Great Britain’s Yazmin Pinchen who took home the spoils, with the 15-year-old stallion Van De Vivaldi. Yazmin went clear round both sections of the course in a time of 32.71sec to keep Louise Whitaker and Ruby VIII in second place (33.53sec).
Yazmin, 25, was proud to have a win with her 16-month-old son watching.
“The last time I was here at Hickstead I was pregnant with Harry and I won the Royal International Accumulator, so it’s nice to be back and have a win with Harry here too. I want to win even more now, I just want to make him proud – get back to five-star and be better than ever. I’m really committed, really focused and just on a mission.”