“I wish every Friday morning was like this,” says Williams, who was enjoying his second victory of the week.
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 on Thursday he won the Astore & Sons Speed Derby Qualifier, riding his 19-year-old mare Culmore Prospect.
“Zandokan is reliving his youth, bucking and playing. He’s properly cheeky,” says Joss. “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. Now, he can boast over a hundred wins.
“Jan just messaged me out of the blue, even though we’d never met, and asked if I wanted a good one,” says Joss. “Erik arrived, and he’s done everything from meters 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 Joss, nothing compares to victory in the Longines International Arena.
“It gives you shivers. You ride in with the announcers and the music playing, and it’s just hallowed turf, really. You just treasure that. It’s unreal.”
The Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting takes place from 20-23 June at Hickstead in West Sussex. With international showjumping classes alongside national competition, showing championships and scurry driving, it is one of the biggest shows in Great Britain.
Image courtesy of Spidge Photography