The Hickstead Derby track was famously based on the original Hamburg version – now in its 83rd year – after founder Douglas Bunn paid a visit to the German venue.
The Sussex version has become by far the most prestigious both in terms of prize-money and degree of difficulty.
Although the Brits and Irish have dominated in recent years – Nelson Pessoa was the last foreign rider to win back in 1996 – there is usually a smattering of international contenders. And, of course, the home riders make bids on foreign Derbys, too.
The Hamburg Derby is, unsurprisingly, the most similar to Hickstead. It is often dominated by German riders and this year was no exception.
Victory went to Nisse Luneburg on the 15-year-old Calle Cool after a jump-off with fellow countryman Torben Kohlbrandt and C-Trenton Z.
Both these riders competed at Hickstead last year and could well be back for another try.
Like Hickstead, the course at Hamburg has remained the same since its inception and, with 17 fences, is slightly longer than the British version. It contains a bank, privet oxer, a double of single poles, several walls and a double of Irish banks.
The La Baule Derby was this year won by Denis Lynch on his Derby debutant Night Train.
The course contains coloured poles mixed with rustic obstacles, including a splash through water complex, a bank with steps down and a double of Irish banks.
Falsterbo’s Derby features plenty more decorative fences and involves a route round the back of the stands before riders re-enter the arena down a steep bank.
Other fences include gates, a replica bridge and a Devil’s Dyke combination, but without a pole over the middle ditch.
While Lummen may be small on prize-money, the track is no walkover. The course takes two detours out of the arena and has several combinations, a water splash and open water – all with traditional white and rustic poles.
Tickets and info
The British Jumping Derby Meeting, featuring the Carpetright Derby, runs from Wednesday, 20 June, to Sunday, 24 June. For more information on ticket prices and timetables, go to www.hickstead.co.uk.
Sky Sports will be broadcasting from Hickstead on the Friday afternoon (featuring the Hickstead Master’s Challenge), Saturday (Bunn Leisure Speed Derby) and Sunday (Carpetright Derby).
To find out who’s in the running for this year’s Boomerang Trophy see the current issue of H&H (14 June 2012)
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