Melton rider Joss Williams hit the heights as he claimed two wins in one of show jumping’s biggest stages last weekend.
Williams won the Clean Sheet 1.25m Open Championship at the Hickstead Derby Meeting on Friday, just 24 hours after topping the Astore and Sons Speed Derby Qualifier.
Both wins came courtesy of veteran horses. His winning ride in the 1.25m Open Championship was Jan Coomer’s 17-year-old Zandokan Z, while he rode his 19-year-old mare Culmore Prospect to victory in the Speed Derby Qualifier.
“I wish every Friday morning was like this,” said Williams.
“Zandokan is reliving his youth, bucking and playing. He’s properly cheeky.
“If you’re in a bad mood, you’ll get on him and just laugh – he’ll be trotting around the school and see something, and he’ll just start grunting and bucking. He’s a real character.”
Joss has had the ride on Zandokan for 18 months, and in that short period of time, he’s already doubled the gelding’s career win tally to more than 100.
“Jan just messaged me out of the blue, even though we’d never met, and asked if I wanted a good one,” Williams added.
“Erik arrived, and he’s done everything from metres up to 1.30m. My mum hacks him out, and when his owner comes over she hacks him out.
“He’s like the perfect all-rounder.”
According to the Melton show jumper, nothing compares to victory in the Longines International Arena.
“It gives you shivers,” he added.
“You ride in with the announcers and the music playing, and it’s just hallowed turf, really. You just treasure that; it’s unreal.”