Hunter heavyweight Liza Boyd (USA) landed from the final oxer in the Deeridge Derby ring to uproarious applause and a chorus of deepthroated “Woo, woo, woos” from the Kiss ‘n Cry.
When your father is Jack Towell, that kind of reception is all in a day’s work.
“He gets that excited at the short-stirrup ring with my daughter,” laughed Boyd.
Towell’s unbridled enthusiasm aside, her derby mount of the day is giving the father–daughter duo good reason to get excited.
Clemens is an eight year old, up-and-coming derby horse that has already proven he has the goods to get to Derby Finals. He was one of three mounts that Boyd took to the 2017 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship. (They finished 29th in the Classic Round and 13th in the Derby Challenge.)
“He’s super fun to ride, really scopey, careful in a nice way, steady to the jumps so he jumps really stylish, like a hunter, and a great personality—just a real puppy dog around the barn,” said Boyd. “I think he’s going to be a superstar for the future.”
For this week’s Deeridge Derby in Wellington, FL, the South Carolina-based rider opted to compete her flashy bay in the National Derby.
“I felt like this venue—he’s not super seasoned on the grass—that I would take advantage of this National Derby and then aim to build him up for the International here. Next year here he’ll be in the International Derby,” she explained.
The decision paid off.
Boyd and Clemens captured the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby on Saturday with scores in the 90s over the two round competition. The pair led a field of 55 in the first round with a score of 92, including four points for taking the high options. They returned for the Handy Round to score a 93, giving them a total of 185 for the victory.
Only Maria Rasmussen and Hobbs Lane came close to capturing their score with a 94 in the Handy, but an 88 from the first round relegated them to second on a score of 182. Robert Weeden and In Time took third with a score of 172.5.
“I think he’s a really special horse,” said Boyd of her. “Maybe my next Brunello.”
Watch wall-to-wall hunter derby coverage at the Deeridge Derby on HorseNetwork.com/live.