2004 – Was this the most Exciting Hickstead Derby of the Century?

John Whitaker at Windsor 2008

One of the most exciting show jumping Hickstead Derby’s of the century was in 2004 when John Whitaker and his niece Ellen Whitaker provided the only two clear rounds in the first round of the iconic course and went through to the jump off. It was unusual enough to have two clear rounds, but to have the two riders from the same family must be unique. The other extra excitement was the horse, Buddy Bunn, the ride taken as a spare ride by John, belonged to the Master and founder of Hickstead Douglas Bunn. So it was a highly charged jump off for many reasons!

John Whitaker had won the Hickstead Derby on three previous occasions, once riding Ryan’s Son in 1983 and then not again until 1998 when he rode Gammon to victory. His final win of the three was riding his famous mount Welham two years later.

Ellen Whitaker at Hoys in 2005

Ellen Whitaker was only 18 years old when she rode her father’s horse Locarno in the 2004 Derby – her first. Ellen started riding when she was only 5 years old and has consistently represented Great Britain  on various teams over the years – Pony, Junior and Young Rider as well as on Nations Cups and other international appointments throughout her career.

Watch this archive video taken in non-digital format, so the picture is a little grainy but certainly viewable and re-live the excitement of 2004.

click here to open vimeo video

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