With 55 year’s worth of memories, the Hickstead Derby has seen a wealth of riders create history on some of the world’s bravest and talented horses.
Since 1980, the winner of the Derby has held the Boomerang Trophy aloft. This stunning bronze trophy, sculpted by Emma McDermott, shows a horse and rider descending the Derby bank the pair depicted are none other than the Irish-bred Boomerang and Ireland’s Eddie Macken, the most successful Hickstead Derby competitors of all time.
Macken and Boomerang’s record remains unsurpassed in the 35 years since their run of four consecutive wins. Their first win came in 1976, when they produced a faultless round to net the only clear. The following year, Macken stamped his Derby authority even further when he finished first and second on Boomerang and Kerrygold respectively. Both horses were part of a five-strong jump-off, with all five horses having incurred four-faults in the first round. But Eddie and Boomerang, first to go in the jump-off, set a time no one could match.
55 years on and Irish horses are still winning the Hickstead Derby! This Year saw William Whittaker partner the Irish Sport Horse Glenavadra Brilliant to claim victory.
The pair came home with just a single time fault, to deny a trio of riders on four faults a jump-off against the clock. A 13-year-old gelding by the stallion Brilliant Lad, Glenavadra Brilliant was bred in Co. Galway by Frank Fahy.
Harriet Nuttall and the Irish Sport Horse gelding A Touch Imperious, finished equal second with Ireland’s Billy Twomey and Richard Howley, when knocking just the last fence on the course. Harriet also guided 2 Irish horses into 1st and 2nd place in the Hickstead Speed Derby proving Irish Sport horses unique ability in these types of events.
Not only are Irish horses unique but so too are our Irish riders. Cork’s Billy Twomey was hoping to add to his Hamburg Derby win from earlier this year aboard Diaghilev but lowered a fence at the Devils Dyke in an otherwise perfect performance. Sligo’s Richard Howley was first to go in the competition and laid down a tough target to those who followed when he also finished with a single fence down riding Chinook. Dermott Lennon riding Vampire, Shane Breen with Acoustic Solo Du Balobet, and winner for the last two years, Trevor Breen (Loughnatousa WB), finished in joint fifth place on eight faults, while Elisabeth Power finished in a tie for 10th with another Irish Sport Horse Doonaveeragh O One.
In total 4 of the top 10 horses in this years British Speed Derby and the Equestrian.com Derby were Irish Sport Horses.
For Bravery, Intelligence and ability, Buy the Best, Buy Irish!
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