Harriet Nuttall in winning form. Ph. Julian Portch Photography for Hickstead Derby Meeting
After being runner up in four of the Hickstead Derby Meeting’s major classes last year, including the Speed Derby, Harriet Nuttall netted her first international win at Hickstead on Saturday, 25th June when she won the €24,000 British Speed Derby CSI4*. Nuttal rode the 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Silver Lift (Easy Lift X Silver Cloud) to first place, scoring a fast clear in a time of 97.53 seconds.
“This is my first win so it’s a burden removed to be honest,” said Nuttall.
Guy Williams was aiming for his third consecutive win with his 14-year-old Belgian gelding Casper De Muze (Triomphe de Muze X Corsaire de Vaubain), but he wasn’t fast enough to catch Nuttal’s time, finishing nearly one second behind in 98.51 seconds to settle for a 2nd place.
“Harriet deserved to win it and I’m happy for her. If anyone’s going to beat me I’m glad it’s her,” said Williams “Last year she should have won and she threw it away, and this year I did the same thing.”
Nuttall also placed 3rd on her second mount, the 15-year-old Irish gelding Highland Cruiser II (Cougar X Flagmount Diamond). Despite racking up 8 faults with Highland Cruiser, her quick time of 102.77 seconds earning her another top finish and the chance to beat her own time.
“Last year she should have won and she threw it away, and this year I did the same thing.”
4th place went to Nicole Pavitt riding Welshman II in 103.68 seconds and 5th place was for Joss Williams riding Culmore Prospect in 103.95 seconds. The class was dominated by the English riders who filled the class’ top 10 placings.
Earlier in the morning, in the Tom Hudson Derby Trophy, Ireland’s Billy Twomey won on board the nine-year-old gelding Thomas, beating Phillip Miller and the in-form Unbelievable Lady into 2nd place.
Twomey was first to go in the jump-off, and he set a strong pace that couldn’t be bettered by either Miller or Anthony Condon, who had two horses in the jump-off.
“The ground was at its best when I went, so maybe I had an advantage going first but I don’t think the conditions were too much of a factor because the jump-off ground felt great,” said Irishman Twomey of the rainy conditions. “I know Phillip’s horse is fast and careful so I wanted to put down a decent marker and then hopefully they’ll have to go for it and make some mistakes,” he added.
He has had the ride on Thomas about two months, and describes him as “very straightforward but relatively inexperienced.”
Twomey won the Hamburg Derby in May and on Sunday will be one of the favorites for the Equestrian.com Derby, the feature class of this meeting. He rides Diaghilev, who finished equal second in the Hickstead Derby in 2015.
Other riders to watch out for include Trevor Breen, who is aiming for a third consecutive win with either Adventure De Kannan or Loughnatousa WB. Nuttall was equal second in the Derby last year with A Touch Imperious, so she is in with a chance to make it a Hickstead double. No one has won the Speed Derby and Hickstead Derby in the same year since Olympic gold medallist Ben Maher in 2005 – but on Sunday, Harriet could emulate his feat.
View all start lists and results at this link.