Britain’s best take on international challenge for Hickstead’s prestigious Peugeot Derby title
John Whitaker and Keeley Durham’s extraordinary Virtual Village Welham are set to defend their Peugeot Derby title at this year’s show (23-26 August).
Keeley’s 22-year-old “wonder horse” will join the field chasing the 306 Cabriolet and £58,000 on the final day of this year’s show.
But John’s brother Michael, the four-times winner of this classic class, will make sure that he does not have it all his own way. Michael, who is just one of a predictably strong British entry, has his Sydney ride, Virtual Village Prince Of Wales, down to jump. “Walter” showed his liking for natural fences when producing a good round in this year’s Falsterbo Derby.
And, after coming so close with the brave Wiston Bridget last year, Tim Stockdale will also be determined to make it to the head of the line this time.
Although the international entry list is not complete, the holders will still face considerable opposition. Among those confirmed for the show are Derby specialist Norway’s Geir Gulliksen and frequent German visitor Hauke Luther, while the Irish presence, spearheaded by last year’s speed Derby winner, Billy Twomey, will be predictably strong.
America’s Candice King and her Queen’s Cup winner, Elu De La Hardiere will be chasing a new prize, £1,500 to the highest-placed lady in the Derby. Jane Annett and Vicky Gosling both have Hickstead specialists in Pipakie and Malacoff, while another with her eyes on this prize will be Swedish star Maria Gretzer.
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