Horse & Hound's coverage of The Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby Meeting (24-28 June) is brought to you in association with Equestrian.com

Guy Williams secured his fourth triumph in the British Speed Derby riding his 2014 victor Casper De Muze – posting the fastest winning time in the class’ history at the Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby meeting (25-28 June).

The result mirrored that of last year with Guy and Harriet Nuttall occupying the top two spots again. Harriet and the Irish-bred Silver Lift meant business and stormed around the 1.45m class – producing what would have been a winning time if not for knocking the middle element of the triple of planks. They finished with a total time of 92.38 seconds – 0.43 of a second behind Guy.

“The ground rode a lot quicker this year and I knew I had to gain strides in order to beat Harriet – her fence down did give me a bit of breathing space,” said Guy. “Casper deserves this win – he has to have belief in me, the same way I have to in him,” he added of the 13-year-old gelding by Triomphe De Muze he’s ridden for two years.

 

 

Harriet left the crowd holding their breath, as she did everything she could to produce an impressively fast round and the nimble Silver Lift responded – but the pair had to settle for bridesmaid position for a second year running after Guy’s second-to-last round.

“I’ve had a really good show but found it tough being second again this time – I really did think I’d done it, but I’ll be back every year until I win,” said Harriet. “Coming over the planks with one to jump I looked up and knew it was a crazy fast time. I’ve been working on lengthening his stride – he’s only small and has a tiny stride,” she added of the 10-year-old originally purchased for Harriet’s younger sister as her first horse.

 

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Young showjumper Holly Gillott set the early pace with JB’s Hot Stuff with a time of 98.08 seconds but they settled for fourth after fellow Brit Zoe Adams – fifth last to go – came home with a faster four-faulting round.

The track certainly sorted out the 30-strong field, with penalties strewn across the class. The ditch fence at 10 claimed some victims including Jay Halim, Portugal’s Joao Charlesworth and France’s Daniel Delsart. Dutch rider Johnny Pals and Ellen Whitaker both fell fowl of the Irish bank and experienced tumbles here.