Ireland’s Peter Charles and Corrada complete only clear round in Hickstead Peugot Derby challenge to scoop top prize.

As he had forecast on Friday, Peter Charles captured the top prize of a Peugeot Cabriolet car and £10,000 after he and the 12-year-old Holstein mare, Corrada, were the only pair able to clear all the fences in this year’s Hickstead Derby.

Violent thunderstorms and heavy rain provided a gloomy backdrop to this year’s classic class, but the huge crowd put up their umbrellas and were transfixed from start to finish.

Those with an early draw had the advantage this year, as they enjoyed the best of the weather and ground conditions and when Billy Twomey took the lead for Ireland on the stallion, Give Me Remus, who lowered only the tricky vertical at the foot of the Derby Bank,it looked as though low scores might be the norm.

Billy was still celebrating his round on the young horse, who was contesting his first Derby, when, two horses later, his compatriot Peter Charles produced the round of the class on the huge grey Corrada, although he did leave the door slightly open when picking up two time-penalties en route.

This was due to the fact that the clock had started ticking before Peter actually broke the beam to start his round. The FEI rule gives riders 45sec to start their round after entering the ring, and Peter was 3sec too slow.

“I was actually speaking to the course-builders, asking them to tell the judges on the bank to be lenient on me and I forgot to start in time!” said a relieved Peter afterwards.

Young Nicky Boulter then jumped the round of her life to share second place with Billy Twomey after Magna Carta, the marewith whom she was a part of this year’s winning European young riders team, just brushed off the first part of the Devil’s Dyke in an otherwise foot-perfect round.

This gave the Epsom-based 21-year-old her best ever result and her biggest ever payday, as she took home £12,500.”I didn’t think I had a chance. so I jumped her in the young riders Derby in ring two this morning and she had eight faults. I can’t believe this has happened,” said Nicky.

Challenges came and went and, with the weatherdeteriorating, it was clear that it would take a special performance to depose this top three.

But, when Kevin Babington came in from final draw on his RIHS grand prix winner, Carling King, Peter Charles was on tenterhooks, as he believed that the American-based rider would be his greatest rival. Sadly, this wasn’t to be, as every riders’ nightmare happened for Kevin, who was eliminated for starting before the bell.

“I do feel for him, as I suggested that he might try to win the class and he’s been staying with me, but this is the greatest Derby in the world and it’s a dream come true for me to win it,” said Peter.

Click here to read ALL Hickstead show jumping results

For full report and pictures, see Horse & Hound (issue dated Thursday 30 August)