Emotional wins and a special Hickstead retirement – what the horse world is talking about

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  • William Funnell’s historic fifth Hickstead Derby win

    William Funnell looked full of confidence as he entered the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby arena on last year’s runner-up Dublon. And so it was justified as he went on to take the title in this iconic class for a fifth time – more than any other rider in history. Clear rounds were elusive, but once again this class proved why it is such a crowd-pleaser, with excitement and drama right until the end.

    Read more about William’s win

    A Hickstead Derby great retires

    Many at the West Sussex venue on Sunday for Derby day were sad to learn that Harriet Biddick, having finished second five times and third twice in this class, wouldn’t be having a last crack at the title with her horse of a lifetime, A Touch Imperious. Instead there were emotional scenes as Harriet officially retired the superstar from top level in the international arena right before the feature class began. If she wasn’t crying before they played “The Time of My Life” I’m sure that would have done it, and the crowd appreciated seeing this fabulous chestnut looking so fit and well aged 20 as he took in the well-deserved praise wearing his garland of apples and carrots.

    All about this wonderful horse’s retirement from the top

    Inspiration win by showman

    In the same arena earlier in the week, rider Val Sheehan, whose left leg had to be amputated eight years ago after a riding accident, won the cob championship riding Red Dove – qualifying for the Agria Royal International Horse Show (23-28 July).

    Val, who is from Kantuck, Co Cork, and now based in Kent as joint-master of the East Kent Hunt, said: “I had to learn to ride again, but this mare is very forgiving. We’ve had her since she was a two-year-old and taken it very slow, but I really think she’s just about to come into herself. She has a huge fan club – everybody loves Audrey!”

    Read the full story

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