Hickstead SJ: Thursday update

By: Horse Deals

Hickstead SJ: Thursday update
William Funnell wins the Bunn Leisure Derby Tankard
Reigning Hickstead Derby champion William Funnell started this year’s show in fantastic style, with his two victories including the day’s main class, the Bunn Leisure Derby Tankard.
William had the best of the draw in a five-horse jump-off and his home-bred stallion, Billy Congo, jumped a fabulous round to knock Jo Pay and another British-bred horse, Goodman For Fun, off the top spot.
"Billy Congo’s the best horse I’ve ridden," said William of the son of his former ride Vechta out of Billy Autumn, the mare who finished second in her HOYS Foxhunter final.
William is extremely proud of the Billy Stud breeding programme he started with Donal Barnwell.
"It’s all coming together. My wife [top eventer Pippa] is also competing Billy Stud horses in the international classes here and I went to the Lisbon Nations Cup show with three home-bred horses," he said.
William’s other win was in the day’s first class, the Camardo Coffee 1.35m Championship, on Julie Slade’s Beowulf. This title was decided straight against the lock and the chestnut answered every call for a decisive victory.
Two other national finals were decided on this opening day. Louise Pavitt is another rider who knows her way round the International Arena and no one could get near her and Emma Harrison’s Umorkus in the Equiport Grade B Championship.
Just three reached the jump-off of the Equiform Nutrition Grade C Championship, which went to one of this season’s most impressive young horses.
Guy Williams has been jumping clear after clear on Lindsay Doran’s Depardieu van’t Kiezelhof and today the big grey — who must be a future international star — proved he could cover the ground equally well.