‘Training is good – but winning is better!’ Dream comes true in Hickstead Speed Derby

  • Elliott Rowe has been owner and coach in previous British Speed Derby success stories – but he said winning it as a rider “is a bit better”.

    Elliott and Rowebuck Stables’ Hyperion VP Wisbecq clipped just the white gate to finish on 100.97 seconds, with Harriet Biddick and Silver Lift, who had been aiming to secure a record fourth title together, second on 103.12.

    “I’m absolutely buzzing,” Elliott said. “The jumps come at you really fast but I really enjoyed it.”

    Elliott was eliminated in the class two years ago, then had a broken collarbone last year so had to watch Ryan Lockwood ride the Bentley Van De Kapel stallion into fourth place. He also trains Ella Dalton, who won in 2023 on Quality Rubies N Diamonds but could not defend her title after she had a fall from her first ride, Ellyette HH.

    “It was good to see Ella win last year – I’d said to her the horse would be really good for this,” he said. “Training is good but winning it is a bit better!”

    Elliott said it was a “dream come true” to lift the Liz Dudden memorial trophy, at his “local show”.

    “I think it helps to have been round before, but he felt good at his last show and he’s been on a bit of form, “ he said. “His owner Daisy gives him an easy life, over small jumps, a good life. He’s lovely, a cool little guy.”

    Harriet and Silver Lift, who were denied a win last year when their bridle came off, felled both parts of the double in an otherwise beautiful round, adding eight to their time of 95.12.

    “I’m really proud of him,” said Harriet of her father Rupert Nuttall’s 19-year-old. “It’s hard to have early fences, with the gate and the planks to come, and I thought ‘What are you doing? This isn’t the plan!’ But he got better as he went round, and at 19, he came out bouncing so I’m really happy.”

    Harriet has not ruled out one more attempt at a fourth title, adding, when asked her plans for 2025: “Just to put him first. If he feels good then yes, we’ll do the same routine of some early grass shows, let him enjoy life. There’s no reason not to think of next year, as long as he feels good.”

    Jess Hewitt and Hot Bluebird finished third, felling the gate to finish on 104.45. The combination fell foul of the bank on their first attempt in this class, in 2022, but Jessica’s dedication to practising this meant they flew up and down it in textbook fashion this time.

    “My preparation has probably been a bit different,” she said. “I’ve been driving to friends’ arenas and every time I see a hill by the road, I get out and go down it; I’ve been down those hills at 10.20pm! And she was amazing at everything today, our practice paid off.”

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