What a week we had at one of our favourite shows of the year! As usual the team at Hickstead work round the clock to ensure that everything is perfect ready for day 1 of their 5 day derby show and don’t stop until the last lorry pulls out at the end of the show! Luckily the weather was fantastic and great week of showjumping lay ahead.
We began the week with an incredibly busy first 2 days between the national classes and Williams 3 international horses arriving for the vet check and starting their classes on Thursday.
We were so pleased with the young horses with so many of them looking very special throughout the show. In the 5 year old class both Billy Heythrop (Cevin Z x Clover Hill) ridden by Luke Hill and Billy Scarlett (Billy Um Bongo x Lancelot) ridden by Scott Dollemore both qualifying for the final in the main ring where Heythrop and Luke took 5th with Scarlett and Scott just behind for 6th. Also impressing throughout the show were Billy Vitani (Tangelo x Billy Congo) and Billy Von Papan (Billy Congo x Cassini I) both of these horses ridden by Jay Hijazi stepped up to the tough courses set and improved with every round.
While none of the 6 year olds qualified for the main ring, Billy York (Cevin Z x Emilion) and Luke and Billy Marmite (Billy Mexico x Vechta) with Pippa were so unlucky to miss out. On Saturday Billy Everest (Billy Congo x Cevin Z) and William jumped 3 super clear rounds to take one of the qualifying places for the Big Star 6 year old final at the National Championships later in the year.
The 7 year olds had great start to the show with all 5 of them jumping clear – William with Billy Take That (Billy Mexico x Wellington), Billy Spiral (Tangelo x Billy Mexico) and Emmylou (Billy Mexico x Lupin Z) and Pippa with Billy Picador (Billy Mexico x Animo) and Billy Hood (Tangelo x Rich Rebel). Over the 2 qualifying classes Spiral, Emmylou and Picador qualified for the main ring final with Spiral being her usual outstanding self coming 4th in a very hot class!
The older horses also excelled throughout the show with Josh Hutchins starting his partnership with Billy Amber (Billy Congo x Abdullah) in the best way when jumping double clear both days in the 1.25m class. Josh’s other ride the 8 year old Billy Brocade Billy Congo x Cavalier Royale) picking up 2nd place in a 1.35m beating the boss Pippa on Billy Kodak (Billy Mexico x Vechta) into 3rd place. This was Pippa’s first time riding Kodak due to William being busy in an international class, she had to jump on board and fill in for him – we think Kodak might be seen with Pippa more often now!!! Josh was denied a winners rug in the other 1.35m class , he finished runner up this time on board Billy Ring (Billy Congo x Kannan).
We were delighted to welcome 2 new team members lately who both had their debut show at Hickstead for us – Lottie Tutt and India Bussey. Both girls did a great job throughout the show working as part of the team and jumping great rounds on their new team of horses.
William brought 3 horses for the international classes, Billy Diamo (Cevin Z x Andiamo), Billy Angelette (Tangelo x Billy Congo) and then of course Billy Buckingham (Billy Congo x Clover Hill)! The horses all jumped great throughout the week and then in no time – it was DERBY DAY! Angelette has really stepped up finishing 8th with just four faults in the Derby Trial, so William decided to also start her in the derby. She really impressed us with her bravery and attitude and although she had a few mistakes on course we see a big future for this 9 year old. Then it was the turn of Buckingham! He was fit, ready and in great form but unfortunately it wasn’t to be when the first part of the elusive devils dyke fell. We felt the disappointment ripple round the arena as the crowds knew immediately that the dream of Willam’s record 5th win was gone. It would have been a great story and one that we would have all enjoyed celebrating but how can we be anything other than delighted with Buckingham who gained another top placing in this great class when adding a 4th equal to his tally! For now our focus moves forward to what the rest of the season holds, but 2020 will see William back again in his attempt to break the record by winning the derby for the 5th time and lift the coveted Boomerang trophy once again!