Emotions ran high at Hickstead yesterday (Sunday 26 June) when Mondriaan, William Funnell’s three-times Derby winner, was retired in the International Arena.

The pair won the iconic Derby in 2006, 08 and 09 — and won almost £250,000 throughout the horse’s career.

William had hoped to have “one more crack at it” to win a fourth title and equal the record of Eddie Macken and Boomerang from the 1970s, but colic surgery ruled out the 17-year-old from further competition.

“It was a lovely ceremony,” Mondriaan’s owner Julie Slade told H&H. “I wasn’t expecting to get so emotional but I had a tear in my eye when they took off his saddle and William led him away. He’s been a fantastic horse.”

Hickstead’s Lizzie Bunn added: “I’ve never seen a crowd reaction like it. He got a standing ovation, it was lovely to see.”

View Mondriaan’s career in pictures

For further comments from Julie, plus William’s reaction, don’t miss Thursday’s edition of H&H magazine (30 June, 2011)