Hickstead’s Speed Derby and Derby Trial Round-Up

Matt Sampson, Bunn Leisure Speed Derby winner at Hickstead today

Hickstead Mane Class Round-Up – Bunn Leisure Speed Derby and the Bunn Leisure Derby Trial

Matthew Sampson’s back-to-back Hickstead win

Matthew Sampson and former event horse, Topflight True Carlo, were victorious in the Bunn Leisure Speed Derby for the second year in a row.

Matt Sampson, Bunn Leisure Speed Derby winner at Hickstead today
Matt Sampson, Bunn Leisure Speed Derby winner at Hickstead (c) Sian Hayden  

31 horse and rider combinations started the speed class. This year’s course proved to be difficult as the total clear rounds mounted up to 0. Six riders were eliminated and one retired.

British rider, Paul Crago was leading on a time of 98.97 sec, having had one fence down with Valentino IX, though a number of former winners were still to come

Ireland’s Paddy O’Donnell and Hey There Delilah produced the fastest round of all time, stopping the clock at 99.48sec. It eased the pressure off for last to go Matthew Sampson, who tipped just one fence to finish on 96.58sec.


I just thought I’d try to do a similar round to last year and luckily it paid off, and I was quick enough even with one fence down. It was a lot more pressure this year to be honest, even walking round the showground people were saying ‘I can’t wait to see you Saturday.” said Matthew

Four-time Speed Derby champion Guy Williams saw his chances of a fifth victory vanish when Casper De Muze knocked down four fences to finish out of the placings. Similarly, Harriet Nuttall had an uncharacteristic three jumps down to end up fifth on her 2016 winner Silver Lift.

For results, click here.

Shane Breen has ideal Trial run with Can Ya Makan

Hickstead successor, Shane Breen, added another victory to his tally of Hickstead wins when claiming the honours in the Bunn Leisure Derby Trial.

Five riders jumped clear in first round of the Bunn Leisure Derby Trial, though William Funnell – one of the leading contenders for Sunday’s Al Shira’aa Derby – chose not to come forward for the jump-off.

Shane Breen, Bunn Leisure Derby Trial winner at Hickstead
Shane Breen, Bunn Leisure Derby Trial winner at Hicksteadtead

Two of the Al Shira’aa Derby’s leading ladies were among the remaining four;  Holly Smith and Harriet Nuttall. With Ireland’s Richard Howley collecting 16 faults in the jump-off, it paved the way for Shane who went clear in 57.76sec to take the win on Can Ya Makan.

In the beginning, the horse and me didn’t get on so great so Georgia Tame rode him a few times. Dublin was our breakthrough show and he’s been great for me since then. This was my first time jumping him in this ring and he was very comfortable in himself. I thought the jump-off would suit him because he can use his length of stride. Holly Smith said she’d gone quite quick, and when she says quite quick you know she means very quick! We just got into a good rhythm, a good groove and he was perfect. He’s super quick, nice in his mouth, very soft to ride and he’s got great balance – he’d be some dressage horse.” said Shane.

Shane now has his sights set on Sunday’s grand finale, the Al Shira’aa Derby. He has had eight top 10 placings in Hickstead’s iconic Derby class, including finishing equal second in 2011, but has yet to lift the trophy. Breen now hopes to ride Can Ya Makan in the Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup and the Longines FEI Nations Cup of Great Britain at Hickstead’s five-star show next month.

A huge field of 71 starters came forward for the afternoon’s Bunn Leisure Derby Two-Phase, with women riders dominating the line-up.

The top-35 horses in the feature class have automatically qualified for the Al Shira’aa Derby, which takes place on Sunday afternoon.

Shane, is based at Hickstead Place and married to Chloe Breen, who is the daughter of All England Jumping Course founder Douglas Bunn. Breen has clocked up a number of international wins here at his ‘home’ showground, but this was his first major win at Hickstead since claiming the honours in both the Derby Trial and the Queen Elizabeth II Cup in 2013.

For results, click here.

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