CSI 4*

Harriet Biddick & William Funnell Share the Spoils in £24,000 The Hickstead Derby Trial CSI 4*

Hickstead, England – June 24, 2022 – Two of the leading Al Shira’aa Derby CSI 4* contenders shared victory in Friday’s qualifying class, the £24,000 Hickstead Derby Trial CSI 4*. Thirty-three horses came forward for the class, with clear rounds proving very hard to come by. It was until  William Funnell (GBR) came in on Equine America Billy Diamo, drawn 20th to go, that the crowd got to see their first penalty-free round.

Harriet Biddick (GBR) then added a second clear with the ultra-consistent campaigner, A Touch Imperious, who is now 18-years-old. But with both riders hoping to win Sunday afternoon’s showcase Al Shira’aa Derby CSI 4*, they agreed not to jump-off against the clock and to share the first prize.

If William can win on Sunday, he would set a new record as the only five-time winner of the Al Shira’aa Derby. Victory would be especially poignant for the Surrey-based showjumper, who very sadly lost his mother shortly before the show. “My mother was looking forward to coming this week, but unfortunately she died last week. She would have loved to have been here, and hopefully she’ll be there with me in spirit on Sunday and help me to get it done.”

The 12-year-old chestnut Anglo-European Sport Horse gelding, Billy Diamo (Cevin Z x Andiamo) will be making his Derby debut on Sunday, but he proved himself to be very capable of jumping Hickstead’s iconic fences in today’s class. “He’s a big, honest horse, and today it was nice to go and get a bit of confidence for Sunday. I actually jumped the Derby Trial on him as an eight-year-old, when he had the gate down but otherwise had a great round. Then I was on Nations Cup duty with him, and I was on the shortlist with him for the Olympic Games last year, so he’s a good Grand Prix horse in his own right.”

Harriet, meanwhile, is really hoping to land her first Derby title after finishing runner up four times with A Touch Imperious. The 18-year-old chestnut Irish Sport Horse gelding (Touchdown x Cavalier Royale) has had some time off through injury during the last few years, while Harriet also had a spell out of the saddle with the arrival of her baby son. But now the pair are back and looking as good as ever.

“He’s exceeding my expectations, because he was clear yesterday in the Stoner Jewellers Vase and then he jumped a cracking round today,” said Harriet. “I didn’t feel I gave him the best ride, and I thought he was very genuine. Hopefully on Sunday I’ll kick myself into shape a bit more! It would mean a lot to win the Derby, but actually, he owes me nothing – as a horse he’s achieved far more than I could ever have imagined, and I’ve had an amazing career on him. He’s 18 years old now, and from here on out, what will be will be.”

The Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting continues until Sunday 26 June, with tickets available at the gate and online. The action is streamed live throughout on Hickstead.TV and ClipMyHorse.TV

Robert Whitaker (GBR) and Evert (Amadeus x Indoctro) completed the podium as the fastest four-faulters, crossing the finish line in 105.63 seconds.

Final Results – £24,000 The Hickstead Derby Trial CSI 4*

1) William Funnell (GBR) & Equine American Billy Diamo – 0 – 110.54

1) Harriet Biddick (GBR) & A Touch Imperious – 0 – 108.60

3) Robert Whitaker (GBR) & Evert – 4 – 105.63

Source: Press Release(edited) from Hickstead – The All England Jumping Course (AEJC)

Photo: © Hickstead – AEJC / Elli Birch / Boots and Hooves Photography