The Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby meeting is just days away – so who will win this year’s coveted Boomerang trophy?
Reigning champions Nigel Coupe and Golvers Hill are back for a second crack of the whip. If they can repeat their winning performance they will be the first combination to secure back-to-back victories since William Funnell and Cortaflex Mondriaan, who won in 2008 and 2009 following their first win in 2006.
William has a good chance of winning a fourth title, this time with the talented Billy Buckingham, who came sixth on his first attempt last year. The 10-year-old has been targeted at this class and is certainly one to watch.
Harriet Nuttall is another hot contender. She has a remarkable record in the Derby, coming third in 2014 and second in 2015, 2016 and 2017 – all on A Touch Imperious. Harriet came so close to taking the title last year, as she jumped clear, but was beaten by Nigel in the jump-off. Could 2018 finally be her and A Touch Imperious’ Derby year?
Glenavadra Brilliant is another horse to look out for. He won the 2016 Hickstead Derby with William Whitaker, but is now ridden by William’s younger brother Jim (yes, another showjumping Whitaker!), who will be looking to become the fourth member the family to get his name on the trophy.
The Hamburg Derby is great preparation for the Hickstead track and Matt Sampson won the event last month on Gloria Van Zuuthoeve, which puts them as current favourites. Matt was the only rider to jump a double clear in Germany – can he do the same in Sussex?
Matt was also the surprise winner of the British Speed Derby last year, riding a horse he hadn’t sat on in three years! The Speed Derby is a thrilling class, which sees riders tackle some of the Derby fences at top speed. It’s a real favourite with the crowd who cheer the riders around – things can get pretty raucous!
Hickstead Derby 2018 premieres on 3 July at 8pm
British Speed Derby 2018 premieres on 11 July at 9pm.
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