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 riding BILLY BUCKINGHAM in The Al Shira'AA Derby in the International jumping competition during The Al Shira'AA Hickstead Derby Meeting at the All England Jumping Course at Hickstead near Haywards Heath in West Sussex in the UK on 24th June 2018

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?

P4GC8X Hickstead, West Sussex, UK. 22nd June 2018. Course Builders. The Bunn Leisure Derby Trial. CSI4*. The Al Shira'aa Hickstead Derby Meeting. Showjumping. The All England Jumping Course. Hickstead. West Sussex. UK. Day 3. 22/06/2018. Credit: Sport In Pictures/Alamy Live News

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

Scott BRASH riding HELLO SHELBY winner of The Bunn Leisure Derby Tankard Competition during The Al Shira'A Hickstead Derby Meeting at the All England Jumping Course at Hickstead near Haywards Heath in West Sussex in the UK on 21st June 2018

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!

Matthew SAMPSON riding TOPFLIGHT TRUE CARLO in The British Speed Derby in the International jumping competition during The Al Shira'AA Hickstead Derby Meeting at the All England Jumping Course at Hickstead near Haywards Heath in West Sussex in the UK on 22nd June 2018

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 riding CLYDE VA in The Hickstead Master's Trophy in the International jumping competition during The Al Shira'AA Hickstead Derby Meeting at the All England Jumping Course at Hickstead near Haywards Heath in West Sussex in the UK on 22nd June 2018

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 with Pippa FUNNELL after winning The Al Shira'AA Derby with BILLY BUCKINGHAM in the International jumping competition during The Al Shira'AA Hickstead Derby Meeting at the All England Jumping Course at Hickstead near Haywards Heath in West Sussex in the UK on 24th June 2018

William Funnell and wife Pippa enjoy the moment

9. Poles flying

CALUNA Z Angelie VON ESSEN thrills and spills fall falling

Angelie Von Essen and Caluna Z take a slightly different approach to reaching the other side…

 

 

10. Sending the Hickstead turf flying

GRAHAM GILLESPIE D ALBA R 15

Graham Gillespie and D Alba R 15 scramble over the Irish Bank to finish 10th in Saturday’s British Speed Derby

11. And finally…

William FUNNELL riding BILLY BUCKINGHAM in The Al Shira'AA Derby in the International jumping competition during The Al Shira'AA Hickstead Derby Meeting at the All England Jumping Course at Hickstead near Haywards Heath in West Sussex in the UK on 24th June 2018

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)