Was William Funnell The Best of The Century on Hickstead Derby Day
This weekend should have seen the sixtieth running of the famous Hickstead Derby, the course with the near vertical Derby Bank; where horses have to go straight down over eight feet and of course the Devils Dyke, a row of three flimsy fences and a ditch. As the show is unable to take place this year, we show a video showing the best horse rider combination this century to undertake this course and win no less than three times. William Funnell riding Cortaflex Mondriaan in 2006, 2008 and 2009.
In 2006, William Funnell and Mondriaan had 4 faults in the first round, along with Geoffrey Billington and David McPherson, and all three had to jump in a jump off to find the winner. In 2008, again there had to be a jump off to find the winner, and William’s adversary again was Geoffrey Billington, who on both occasions was riding Cassibaccus. Again Mondriaan took the winner’s ticket. In 2009, William and Mondriaan were the only clears in the first round which made them the winners with no need for a jump off. In this 25 minute video, we see William’s first rounds for each of the three years and the complete jump offs for the two years when they were necessary.
William Funnell has won The Hickstead Derby on four occasions, the final one being in 2018, when he won on Billy Buckingham, a home bred horse who sadly died last year. Four wins for William is a tremendous achievement in itself and has only ever been achieved by two other riders, Eddie Macken riding the famous Boomerang consecutively from 1976 to 1979 and Harvey Smith, who also took the prize four times, but on three different horses. Several riders have won the competition three times including Nick Skelton who won in the late eighties. Michael Whitaker won it three times consecutively on the same horse – Monsanta in the early nineties and Peter Charles also won it three times in the early 2000s riding Corrada. Foreign riders do not feature too much in this competition, but two famous riders have won it three times, Nelson Pessoa from Brazil and Paul Schockemohle from Germany. Since 1996, The Hickstead Derby has been won by a rider from either Great Britain or Ireland.
Sit back and enjoy the video showing the most recent successful rider of this century, William Funnell.