Johnathan Bowman, team show jumping trainer has managed to achieve a very special win on Marcel des Rosiers, a horse he has owned and produced since a three year old. Marcel who is now sixteen has been on winning form having won a big championship in April at The Welsh Masters, near Chepstow.
The Equestrian.Com Derby weekend was held over five days starting on the 22nd of June. The competition is held at the prestigious All England Jumping Course in West Sussex, which is home to the Derby where riders tackle the notorious Hickstead bank, and Devils Dyke.
Johnathan took three horses to Hickstead, his own Marcel, and two horses owned by long term supporter and friend, Steve Valente-Smith, Enamorado and Pennvad.
Many of the National classes hold qualifiers in the outside arenas, where they then put the top six through from each day to then jump in the massive main Derby arena. Marcel jumped on the Wednesday in the 1.25m qualifier; there were 120 riders in the class, and Johnathan and Marcel performed a great double clear to finish second, just 0.1 second behind the winner, so through to the Championship. With the qualification in the bag, Marcel was rested ready for the championship on the Friday. The rain had caused all manner of problems at Hickstead, with stables flooding and lorries being towed in and out, but the grass arena is one of the best in the world having been completely replaced only a few years ago, so the going was great. With twelve starters the race was on, but with a scorching double clear, the pair won by over three seconds. Johnathan commented “this win is so special, Marcel has been my horse of a life time, we have won the Welsh Masters, Scope, Hartpury Spectacular, the B&C, been to HOYS and Olympia, but never won at Hickstead. I’m over the moon with his performance, he feels amazing at the moment”.
Not to be outdone, the winning spree continued. Pennvad, a horse bought by Steve for his son, but also ridden by Johnathan, competed in the Novice Open. With 240 starters, a careful and quick performance was needed. The pair came second, again only beaten by 0.1 of a second, and through to the Championship. Pennvad, had decided too that he wanted to win one of the prestigious Hickstead rugs, so jumped his socks off to come in first. Steve’s other horse Enamorado, fresh from his win, also at the Welsh Masters, had an unlucky fence down in the Foxhunter class which had 150 starters, but was rewarded with a sixth in the 1.25m on the second day with a lovely double clear. Johnathan commented “I was really pleased with how Steve’s horses jumped, the horses are based with me at our yard at Leigh, and Enamorado is a young horse who still has a lot to learn. This is the biggest competition he’s been to, and he has taken it in his stride. We are off to France the first weekend in August to compete at Le Toucan, so this has been great preparation for them all.”