Geoff Billington joined the Hickstead Derby heroes after heading the 47th running of this classic class on Lady Rowallan’s Cassabachus.

The German-bred grey and his 52-year-old rider produced a fantastic round to capture the £40,000 prize on a day when Hickstead’s organisers refused to give in to the elements.

The Pony Masters — won by Pippa Allen on Mr Bon Ami — was moved to ring two to keep the going in the International Arena as good as possible and the sun came out at the start of the class.

David McPherson held the lead for a long time with two mistakes from opening draw, then Andrew Mizon looked as though he would join Michael Whitaker as an 18-year-old winner after only once mistake. But Geoff was determination itself and he was rewarded by the biggest individual win of his long career.

“I thought I’d blown my chance when I finished third last year and I’m grateful to this horse. The going wasn’t great, but he never blinked,” said Geoff.

Don’t miss Horse & Hound’s full report on all the action from the Hickstead Derby Meeting, including stunning photographs, in this Thursday’s issue (5 July, ’07)