The 58th running of the Hickstead Derby must surely go down in history as one of the best yet, with William Funnell joining that elite band of four-time winners on his charismatic 18hh home-bred Billy Buckingham.
But it wasn’t only the action over the infamous Derby fences that kept us enthralled last week — we’ve enjoyed thrills, spills, several near-misses and some top class sporting action from start to finish. The 2018 Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting was an absolute blast and we can’t wait to do it all again next year…
1. Praying to the Hickstead Gods
Andrew Williams and the 13-year-old Bodieve Toyboy begin their descent of the mighty Bank
2. And the winner is…
William Funnell — three-time winner with the great Mondriaan — returns in 2018 to claim a fourth victory, this time with his second generation home-bred, the 10-year-old 18hh giant Billy Buckingham, a son of the great Billy Congo
3. Wait for me!
The 14-year-old Derby veteran Dollanstown is a bit too keen for Ireland’s Capt Geoff Curran at the rails at the bottom of the Bank
4. Will you push him or will I?
Ground staff hard at work at the open water, which caused an unusually high number of problems for riders this year
5. Olympic champion pays a flying visit
2012 Olympic team gold medallist Scott Brash was on a fact-finding mission to Hickstead with Hello Shelby ahead of their Nations Cup appearance here next month — they even managed to win the Bunn Leisure Derby Tankard
6. Drinks are on you, Matt Sampson!
After winning his second British Speed Derby in a row with Topflight True Carlo, Matt Sampson (and friends) head to the bar for a lemonade or two
7. Breen Family celebrations
Shane Breen is joined by his family after winning the Hickstead Master’s Trophy on Clyde VA. Shane went on to finish equal third in the feature class.
8. The winning team
William Funnell and wife Pippa enjoy the moment
9. Poles flying
Angelie Von Essen and Caluna Z take a slightly different approach to reaching the other side…
10. Sending the Hickstead turf flying
Graham Gillespie and D Alba R 15 scramble over the Irish Bank to finish 10th in Saturday’s British Speed Derby
11. And finally…
The final word goes to William Funnell — with a bit of prompting from commentator Steven Wilde — as he joins John and Michael Whitaker, Harvey Smith and Eddie Macken in the illustrious group of four-time Hickstead Derby winners. Can he make it a fantastic five? Roll on 2019…
Don’t miss the full report from the Hickstead Derby meeting in the current issue of Horse & Hound magazine, which is out tomorrow (27 June 2018)