The Al Shira'aa Hickstead Derby 2019

All England Jumping Course, Hickstead, West Sussex, 20th - 23rd June 2019

By Stephanie DeWitt   Photography Julian Portch   #hickstead

History was made yet again at this year's Hickstead Derby meeting with 19 year-old Irishman Michael Pender, riding Paul van den Bosch's 12 year-old bay gelding HEARTON DU BOIS HALLEUX, lifting both the Boomerang Trophy and the Al Shira'aa Trophy at their first attempt, the youngest ever winner of this competition.

Three horse and rider combinations went through to the barrage, first being Shane Breen on the chestnut stallion GOLDEN HAWK who brought down the Hickstead rails and the first half of the double of gates to finish on 8 faults.   In the Bunn Leisure Derby Trial on Friday this pair jumped an effortless, classy, clear round to win the class, with Graham Gillespie from Glasgow, the only other rider clear in the first round, opting not to jump off with his 13 year-old bay gelding ANDRETTI.   Riding QUINTELLA, Shane also topped the Astore & Sons 1.35m Open Championship on Thursday.

Next, Mikey and his mount left all the fences up in a steady time of 101.77 seconds, leaving the way clear for Harriet Nuttall and her father Rupert's chestnut gelding A TOUCH IMPERIOUS to post a faster time.   This they did, completing the course more than seven seconds faster in 94.15.   But sadly the pair took a stride out before the water and landed on the lath at the other side.

"I'm still speechless!" said Mikey, who hails from Kildare.   "I knew my horse wasn't going to be fast, so I tried to jump clear to put pressure on Harriet.   I walked the course this morning and thought it was very big, but I followed advice and jumped every fence individually."

Mikey, this time partnering MHS NEW YORK, also shared first prize with Matt Sampson and IVORY in the Al Shira'aa Six Year Old Jumping Championship on Friday, both posting the identical time of 33.94 seconds.

Earlier on Sunday the Kingsman Equine 7 & 8 Year-old Championship was won by Nicole Lockhead Anderson, aged 17, with Holly Smith's 7 year-old gelding HERE I AM B, clear in the jump-off in the fastest time of 45.37 seconds, beating many seasoned competitors.   Nicole moved from her Aberdeenshire home in February to be based with Holly in Leicestershire and earned her Junior Union Jack competing at the European Championships last year.   Holly herself took top honours on Thursday in the Stoner Jewellers Vase riding FRUSELLI, the fastest clear in 66.97 seconds out of more than fifty starters.

The competition in Saturday's Science Supplements Speed Derby went right to the wire!  The lead changed throughout the class with horse and rider combinations completing their rounds in increasingly faster times, even with seconds added for falling poles.   Fourth last to go were Harriet Nuttall and SILVER LIFT, the winners in 2016, taking over the lead with a faultless round in a time of 95.33 seconds.   Last to jump, winners for the past two years, Matt Sampson and Christine Spanner's TOPFLIGHT TRUE CARLO cut the beam in 91.83 seconds - but took the poles of the last fence with them, adding four seconds.   Thus it was Harriet who lifted the Liz Dudden Memorial Trophy.

"It's by far our best round and I'm so happy he's done it again," said Harriet.   I knew that Matt was faster than me, but SILVER LIFT was fast, clever and careful."

Earlier that day Hannah Tiley with her own AMARYLLIS III won the Harcour Hickstead Amateur Championship;  the Al Shira'aa Under 25 Masters went to Georgia Tame and CLINTOFINO, having been placed 1st and 2nd in the first leg of the competition on Thursday riding Z7 CANYA DANCE and CLINTOFINO respectively.

Guy Williams celebrated back-to-back wins riding ROUGE DE REVEL in the Hickstead Master's Trophy having triumphed in the previous day's Bunn Leisure Derby Two Phase for the Tom Hudson Trophy.   First into the ring in the two-phase competition, the pair jumped clear in the fast time of 33.57 seconds which proved to be unbeatable.

Also on Friday the Al Shira'aa Five Year Old Championship went to Jonathan Egmore riding PASSILANO with Joss Williams on ZANDOKAN Z taking the Clean Sheet m1.25m Open Championship to add to his Horseware Ireland Ring 2 win on CULMORE PROSPECT in the Astore & Sons Speed Derby Qualifier.

The Bunn Leisure Derby Tankard went to Julie Wells (USA) on AMBRA, Jake Saywell and GALAXCY IX took the Hickstead Annual Grade C Championship while William Rekert on HOT BLUEBIRD won the Hickstead Novice Championship.

In the British Private Driving Derby, BROOKFIELD OUR WAY, an 8 year-old bay hackney pony owned and exhibited by Shane White, was chosen as Champion by judge Roger Page.   In Reserve was Stephen Tubb with his own BERTIE INDEPENDENCE WARRIOR, a 15 year-old chestnut competing in only his third show this year.

The Driving Concours d'Elegance went to the very smart turnout of Jessie Dudley Apicella and AGHADERG STAND & DELIVER, a 10 year-old bay 12.2hh pony, the Reserve Champion being BROOKFIELD OUR WAY pulling a spindle-back gig.

Taking the class win and the championship in the Trade Turnouts was MATHFRED ROMEO, an 8 year-old Welsh Cob stallion, owned by C Fountain and driven by Tommy Fountain.   The stunning chestnut was between the shafts of a milk float built in 1906.

Welshman Gareth Roberts sped over the finish line with his pair of large bay ponies, DARKHORSE FRED & BARNEY, to win the final of the Osborne Refrigerators Scurry Driving Championship.   Next day eight scurry turnouts took part in the Osborne Refrigerators Scurry Challenge with Jemma Millman driving TIGGER & OWL to victory in 48.61 seconds.  The ribbons were presented by Julia Bunn, herself a six-times Scurry Driver of the Year.

I.C.E. Horseboxes are the new sponsors of both the Supreme Cob and Supreme Coloured Horse Ridden Championships, with Lady Tyrell's lightweight OUR CASHEL BLUE ridden by Allister Hood winning the former and his son, Oliver Hood, in top spot in the latter on Lisha Leeman's skewbald KELLYTHORPES MASTER KEY.

COLBY SILVER SPRITE, an 8 year-old cream Welsh gelding owned and ridden by Sam Roberts, took the BSPS Lemieux Heritage Mountain & Moorland Supreme Open Ridden Championship while the Champion Alltech Small Show Hunter was CHURCH ROCK CASHEL with Jayne Ross riding for Mrs Campbell.   Next day Jayne also won the Alltech Supreme Hack Championship on Ms M Wallace's 8 year-old black large hack FORGELANDS HYDE PARK.

Yet again PENSTRUMBLY OUR ABRAM, owned and ridden by Esther Rostron, took top honours in the Hickstead Ladies Side Saddle Classic, prizes being presented by three-times winner Georgina Andrews.   From the middleweight section, the Alltech Supreme Hunter Championship went to Mrs D Harrod's BLOOMFIELD VALHALLA with Polly Coles in the saddle;  Samantha Wallin on her own AWESOME FREDDIE from the National Hunt class won the RoR Tattersalls Thoroughbred Show Series.

The new all-weather surface in the Equine America Ring 3 proved popular with competitors, part of the Hickstead team's constant drive to improve the facilities.   And we can't wait to go cross-country schooling in the extension to the Airowear Ring 4 when it opens in October!