10 Iconic Derby Moments - Part III

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This week Hickstead Press Officer and journalist Victoria Spicer concludes her 10 Iconic Derby Moments Series with that infamous hand signal, an extraordinary achievement for Paul Beecher, and a very special win for William Funnell...

7.  Harvey Smith's V-SignProbably the best-known moment in Hickstead's history was when a certain Harvey Smith put two fingers up at the showjumping establishment and made it on to every newspaper in the land.

Having won the Hickstead Derby in 1970 on Mattie Brown, Harvey returned the following year without bringing back the trophy. He claimed to have forgotten it, but Douglas Bunn felt that Harvey was arrogantly assuming he would repeat his win.

After winning the jump-off against Steven Hadley, Harvey cantered through the finish, circled and then flicked a V-sign towards the directors' box, an act that was caught by the television cameras. He later said he was making a 'V for Victory sign', but the organisers were having none of it - Harvey was disqualified and his first prize of £2,000 was removed. Eventually the matter was referred to the British Show Jumping Association, and the title and prizemoney were reinstated.
8. Off To A Good StartIn 2012, Paul Beecher and Loughnatousa WB became the only horse to win on a clear round from the number one draw.

Having picked up 16 faults in their first attempt the year previously, Paul and 'WB' were not expected to trouble the leaders the following year, but they duly produced a text book clear. For a while it looked like no one was going to join them, until William Funnell and Dorada joined them in a jump-off. But William couldn't repeat his clear round, giving victory to Irishman Paul, who had been convinced since WB was a young horse that he would be the one to make his career.
9. Girl PowerOnly two mares have won the Hickstead Derby in its 54-year history. The first to win the title was John Popely's Bluebird, who was having her fifth attempt in the class in 1996. She was joined soon after by Corrada, who didn't touch a pole during any of her three wins (2001-2003) with Peter Charles - although she did get time faults in 2001 for starting 3sec late.
10. Three Of The BestAs mentioned earlier, once a horse has won the Derby it is quite likely it will repeat its feat. Three horses have each won the Derby three times: Monsanta (1991-1993) with Michael Whitaker, Corrada (as outlined above), and Cortaflex Mondriaan, who won for William Funnell in 2006, 2008 and 2009.

Mondriaan was retired from international competition in 2011, and was paraded at Hickstead for one final time. Out of his three Derby victories, William nominated the final win as the highlight.

"It was shortly after Douglas had died, and it was almost like it was destiny for me to win that day," says William. "I knew I needed a clear round, and I could almost hear Douglas saying to me 'Come on! Don't mess it up!' For some reason, it just felt as if it was going to happen for me, and Mondriaan jumped brilliantly that day. He made it feel easy."