For the first time ever, the first drawn rider in the Hickstead Derby went on to win the class. Scoring what was the biggest success of his career to date, Paul Beecher could not contain his delight at winning the Carpetright Derby, something he has ‘dreamed about since I was a little kid watching on television’.
Loughnatousa W B 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 “W B” was a young horse that he would be the horse that made his career.
The first to go, Paul and W B jumped a superb clear. But 24 riders followed and it was looking like no one would be able to emulate Paul’s feat, until William Funnell and Dorada finally went clear to guarantee a jump-off. But in the second round, Paul went clear again to put the pressure on William. The three-time former winner then made it to the third fence before picking up four faults and retiring, thereby confirming Paul as the 2012 winner.
The famous water jump claimed the hopes and dreams of four riders who otherwise would have gone clear, and they were joined by two other riders who finished on four faults apiece, with the six riders in total tying for third.
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. His slow and steady approach paid off and he won from the much quicker Nicole Pavitt (Festiena Van Texelhof), who had one pole down on the second phase to finish second, with Spencer Roe (Wonder Why) finishing third.
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, who was second in his class, was moved up to take 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.