Irish rider made history in prestigious Hickstead Derby

Paul Beecher coming down the Derby Bank Photo John Periam
Paul Beecher coming down the Derby Bank Photo John Periam

FOR the first time ever, the first drawn rider in the prestigious Hickstead Derby went on to win the class last Sunday.

Scoring the biggest success of his career to date, Irishman Paul Beecher could not contain his delight at winning the Carpetright Derby, something he had ‘dreamed about since I was a little kid watching on television’.

Loughnatousa WB is a horse close to Paul’s heart, having been bred by his family at their stud in Co Waterford, Ireland. The 29-year-old Irishman has been convinced since ‘WB’ was a young horse that this would be the horse to make his career.

Paul and W B jumped a superb clear and it was not until William Funnell and Dorada finally went clear that a jump-off was guaranteed. Inn the second round, Paul went clear again to put the pressure on William, who collected four faults at the third fence and retired.

Joe Whitaker and Carla De Balou won the first showjumping class of the day, the Equimax Under 25 Masters. Joe, who was last to jump, was the only rider to go clear through both phases where his slow and steady approach paid off.

In the showing classes, Deep Reflection was the winner of the Tattersalls/RoR Thoroughbred Show Horse Championship with Helen Newbold. The 12-year-old was trained by Martin Keighley and won £25,000 during his racing career.

Carol Bardo’s The Humdinger,won the tricolour in the Supreme Coloured Horse Championship with Jayne Webber, while Robert Walker and Vantage Point – the lightweight hunter winners - won the Gray Horseboxes Supreme Hunter championship in Hickstead’s International Arena.

On Saturday, sunshine and good weather had provided the perfect backdrop for Hickstead’s famous Bunn Leisure Speed Derby when Irishman Trevor Breen scored his second win in a highly competitive field. Her and his elder brother Shane, both based at Hickstead, now have two wins apiece in this class, and between them hold the record for the three fastest times.

Trevor went clear, before Shane Breen set a quicker time – but one fence down cost him his chance of winning. Last to go Ahmad Saber Hamcho finished clear and only just missed out on Trevor’s time to take second place. Harriet Nuttall backed up her credentials in this class with her third placing, having finished runner-up in 2011.

Earlier in the day in the Hickstead Derby Trophy, a young rider from the West country, Sammie Jo Coffin won the event aboard her horse Willem De Lux.

In the showing classes, Jayne Webber and Broadshard Simplicity won the Equimax Supreme Hack Championship, while the Osborne Refrigerators Scurry Driving Championship went to Charlotte Adams Lane and her ponies Balanced Chaz and Dave.

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