Horse & Hound's coverage of The Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby Meeting (24-28 June) is brought to you in association with Equestrian.com
Andrew Williams successfully opened his Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby meeting campaign with two wins on the opening day (Wednesday 24 June).
It was a worthwhile seven-hour drive for Cornwall-based Andrew — he scooped Wednesday’s first national class, the Horse & Hound senior Foxhunter first round with Nancy Phillips’ 10-year-old grey Bodieve Toyboy.
“I have been riding him for four years and mostly in working hunter classes — he’s been to Horse of the Year Show for the past three years,” said Andrew. “He’s quite athletic for a worker. He’s quick on his toes and has a lovely attitude.”
Helen Wilson and the Alice Kent-owned diminuitive dun, Glendun — who also affiliates in British Eventing with Helen — took the runner-up spot. Scottish rider Douglas Duffin slotted into third riding Nicholas Morgan’s Djoel.
Andrew did not have to wait long to be back in the prize-giving — he triumphed in the following class, the Spillers Grade C Championship, riding his own eight-year-old gelding Codar — a horse he initially had in to produce and sell before deciding to part-buy him. He fended off Alex Gill and Cassa Z into second — Olympic eventing team bronze medallist Sharon Hunt settled for third, riding her own HSB Harriet.
Continuing his on-form day, Andrew also finished fourth in the Camardo Coffee 1.35m open class aboard Joanna Sampson’s Alie B. The class was won by Joss Williams and his 15-year-old chestnut mare, Culmore Prospect. Jay Halim took second with Abrisco and Timothy Page and Duc D Arsouilles were third.
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The Beethoven seven- and eight-year-old first qualifier attracted a competitive line-up. However, it was 23-year-old Norwegian rider Victoria Gulliksen — recent joint puissance victor at Bolesworth International — who came out on top. Daughter of international showjumper, Geir, she piloted the locally-bred Billy Blue Bell to victory. Sussex-based Nicole Pavitt took both second and third riding Tia Semilly and Bellissima Z II.
The international action at the Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby meeting kicks off today (Thursday 25 June). The highlight is the €12,000 (£8,500) Bunn Leisure Derby Tankard commencing at 3.45pm in the international arena — the class gives a great insight into which riders are on-form ahead of Sunday’s Equestrian.com Derby.