Shane Breen on his Hickstead Derby victory: ‘Maybe one of my kids will win it one day’

  • Shane Breen says the history of the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby – and the place Hickstead holds in the heart of his family, as the Breens are based there – made his first win in the class last month particularly special.

    “It was the 60th running of the Derby and my wife Chloe and I jumped in it together and were equal third, so obviously she knows what it’s like to go round there,” he says, in an interview on episode 112 of The Horse & Hound Podcast, supported this week by Bucas.

    “It was lovely to have all the kids there. When you look to the future, I feel very proud that I was able to win the Derby and I look forward to one of my kids maybe winning it one day. It’s not that they have to do it, but if they would like to do it, hopefully we can have a horse like Can Ya Makan or Golden Hawk for them to have a pleasurable ride around on.”

    Shane said that his winner Can Ya Makan was “very comfortable” and “really enjoying himself” round the course.

    “I think twice on the way around I gave him a little pat on the neck just to tell him that we’re doing fine, you’re doing a great job, just to keep it together,” says Shane. “Obviously it’s twice as enjoyable when you jump around clear. It’s the second time I’ve jumped around clear as I jumped clear with Golden Hawk in 2019. So to do it again, with Can Ya Makan, was really a fantastic feeling.“

    Shane jumped the only clear of the class with Can Ya Makan and also finished equal second with four faults on Golden Hawk.

    “The win is amazing, but to be first and second, equal second was kind of the icing on the cake. I was just so happy for both Can Ya Makan and Golden Hawk because they’re 16 and 17 and they’ve been fantastic horses in my career. I’ve had many, many great days and great successes with them. Both of them can’t win on the one day, but hopefully I’ll give it another go possibly next year with both of them, if they’re in good shape and they’re up for it.”

    Shane Breen says that his two Hickstead Derby rides, Can Ya Makan and Golden Hawk, are similar in that both have a lot of thoroughbred blood, plus they are both scopey and careful. But they are different in other ways – Can Ya Makan is “not a great fan” of the dry ditch on the Derby course, while Golden Hawk is very brave there, but has to be kept relaxed.

    The winner didn’t watch any other competitors in this year’s showdown as he was warming up or trotting off his horses during the class, but Michael Quirke had the contest streaming on his phone at the side of the arena so he knew what was happening.

    “After I jumped Golden Hawk, there were two left to go and I was concentrating on getting ready to get back up on Can Ya Makan. I was basically just thinking about my jump-off and the warm-up for it. I was just about ready to get back up on him when word came through that Dermot Lennon had had a fault at the bank so I obviously didn’t need to get back on him [as there wouldn’t be a jump-off],” says Shane.

    Hear more about Shane Breen’s young horses and his hopes for the Royal International next week by tuning in to episode 112 of The Horse & Hound Podcast here, or search “The Horse & Hound Podcast” in your favourite podcast app.

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