I think I’m correct in saying that you’ve never won the Derby showjumping title? Considering you’ve basically won every other title there is, why do you think this one has escaped you?
I’ve never won the SA Showjumping Derby. I’ve been second twice and placed several times. I think you need a very specific horse for Derby and I don’t think that I’ve had super Derby horses specifically. Alzu Barracuda and now Armageddon are my best options, so maybe this is my year.
How are you feeling heading into Derby this year – or is it too early to tell?
Hopefully my horse will be fit, free from injury and have wings under his feet.
What horses will you compete on throughout the show?
Athena VI 1.40m
Kojac van de Kornelishoeve 1.35m
Which of your clients do you aim to have jumping the main derby class & who stands a good chance out of those clients?
I have many clients that will jump in the big derby and any of them could win the class. Previous winner Anne-Marie Esslinger is obviously a safe-bet as is Graham Winn who came in the top three last year. I will also have a few first timers riding the Derby and they are all very good riders – Ash Hausburger, Ron Healy, Andrew Oliff, Jeanne Engela, Jan Kleynhans, Christopher van der Merwe, Kelly O’Connor and Bryce McCall.
Which horse & rider combination has impressed you most this year & why?
Jonathan Clarke and Hummer – they are so consistent, stylish and always beautiful to watch.
What do you love most about Derby?
That it is unique.
What makes the Derby course so challenging?
That it is so different from normal showjumping.
What are the things that you focus on most ahead of Derby (for both you & your horses)?
Fitness, health and preparing the horses to see obstacles they have not seen for a whole year.
What are the key attributes that the winning horse will possess/needs to possess?
Luck, bravery and preparation are key.