Power powers home in show jumping’s Speed Derby

robbie powerhicksteadGrand National winning jockey Robbie Power has a summer job, and he’s doing rather well at it. Not surprisingly, it is horse related, and it’s more a case of back to his roots rather than something completely new.

Power started out in the show jumping world and won a silver medal at the European Young Rider Championships before turning to horse racing. His biggest thrill as a jockey came in riding Silver Birch to win the 2007 John Smith’s Grand National. Back to his first love, he was at Hickstead on Saturday to ride his sister’s horse, Doonaveeragh O One to success in the European Speed Derby at the British Jumping Derby. The competition featured the usual show jumping scores of faults for fences knocked down or for a refusal, and time faults for riders taking longer than the allotted time to complete the course.

Power rode a clear round over the 20 obstacles, which included a downward plunge on the famous Hickstead Derby Bank, which at 10ft 6ins in height dwarfs the Chair, Aintree’s biggest fence. He completed the course 15/100ths of a second faster than his nearest rival and then explained that his mount “has got a very big stride and because he’s done a lot of eventing he’s not bothered by the unusual fences, so I was able to kick on at them.

Afterwards he quipped, “Maybe I should keep my 100% record and leave it at that.” Power clearly doesn’t think the same way about the day job, as he was on the plane straight afterwards bound for Gowran Park, were he managed a second place on one of his rides, Hurricane Ridge. He added, “I definitely won’t be quitting racing for a good few years yet, hopefully, but I’ll keep show jumping during the summer. I’m very competitive and love to win – so it doesn’t matter whether it’s racing or show jumping on the big stage at Hickstead.”

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