‘I won’t use a hackamore this time!’ Speed Derby veteran is bidding to regain title lost after bridle mishap

  • Showjumper Harriet Biddick made headlines last year when footage of her jumping Hickstead’s speed Derby on Silver Lift without a bridle went viral.

    The Somerset rider and her Irish sport horse missed out on the chance to become the first combination to win the class four times after that dramatic tack mishap, but Harriet is back after the birth of her second child Oliver in December to make another record-breaking attempt in this year’s speed Derby with her now 19-year-old Hickstead hero.

    Harriet Biddick and Silver Lift, who racked up their speed Derby hat-trick with high-octane victories in 2016, 2019 and 2022, warmed up for this year’s Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting (20-23 June) with a win at her local Bath and West Show in Shepton Mallet last weekend (30 May-1 June).

    “He feels really good,” Harriet told H&H. “I’m only doing a few shows with him. Izzy, who rides for me at home, has jumped a few shows just so he’s been out doing bits and bobs.”

    Harriet Biddick and Silver Lift: the most successful combination in speed Derby history

    “I wanted to bring him to Bath and West for a run on grass and we’ll go to Royal Cornwall and then we’ll aim for the speed Derby,” said Harriet, who was on target for a fourth win on Hickstead’s hallowed turf when Silver Lift lost his bridle after the Irish bank last year, dramatically jumping through the triple of planks without any steering.

    “I won’t have the hackamore on him this time, I’ll ride him in the three-ring!” she said.

    Harriet’s horses are just returning to full fitness after she had Oliver. She didn’t take them on any tours this spring, but the horses seemed to improve as the show went on.

    “The ground was sticky the first day and Night Of Glory found it a bit squishy, it was taking her jump away a bit,” she said.

    “In the trial she had a couple of tired poles towards the end of the course but she was back to herself in the grand prix and was really game for it, whereas she’d felt a little bit rusty. The ground had dried out and was great.”

    Harriet is also hoping the 20-year-old A Touch Imperious, with whom she has finished second in the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby an incredible five times, might make a return to Hickstead this year after a minor setback 12 months ago.

    You can read the full report from Bath and West Show in this week’s Horse & Hound magazine, in the shops Thursday 6 June and we’ll bring you all the news of Harriet Biddick’s record-breaking speed Derby attempt at the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby meeting this month.

    • If you’d like to be at Hickstead to watch all the action in person, tickets start from less than £20, with advance discounts and concessions available. Thursday 20 June is free general admission for all, while Friday and Saturday offer free admission to those under 15 years of age. Book tickets

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