A hat-trick for Harriet Biddick in the British Speed Derby

Somerset rider Harriet Biddick had another win in the British Speed Derby at Hickstead today, becoming the first lady rider to win this class three times.

A hat-trick for Harriet Biddick in the British Speed Derby

Harriet Biddick wins the British Speed Derby at the All England Jumping Course at Hickstead in West Sussex.  Photo (c) Elli Birch/Boots and Hooves Photography 

Harriet and Silver Lift have an extraordinary record in the Speed Derby, winning in in 2016 and 2019 and finishing runner-up a further three times.  Drawn last to go, Harriet produced a beautifully-judged round in a time of 96.61sec to go half a second ahead of Brazil’s Carlos Eduardo Mota Ribas (Trix). In third and fourth was Charlene Bastone, with Fyberlinus H and Halina HL.

The pair had won the latest renewal of the class at the 2019 Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting, but it has not been held since due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Harriet had a short break from the sport with the birth of her son Archie, who is now 16 months old, while her winning ride had been leased to teenage rider Joss Phillipps.

"Dad had the great idea to ask if we could have him back for June this year, and thank god they said yes. I’ve just had him for two months, and he goes back to them in a week’s time,” explained Harriet. 

Her strategy had been to go fairly quickly and step up the pace if she had a fence down, but she had to have a rethink. "When I went in, I actually went too slow, so I started to panic a bit at the end, because I felt like I was cutting it really fine. I was lucky at the planks – I think I gave them all a little touch on the way through,” she said. 

Having won Friday's Derby Trial and today's Speed Derby, Harriet now has a chance of sweeping the board with a win in the Al Shira'aa Derby. "This weekend has been very surreal, winning the Derby Trial yesterday and then having Silver Lift come in and win today. I’m just amazed he’s done it again. Both my horses are older now, and neither of them owes me a thing. Anything they do from now on is a bonus." 

Earlier in the day, Guy Williams won the ClipMyHorse.TV Hickstead Master’s Trophy for the third time, having also taken the honours in 2017 and 2019.  

All three wins came courtesy of the 17-year-old stallion Rouge De Ravel, who has been a prolific winner at Hickstead over the years as well as on the international showjumping circuit.

“He won on the first day of the show, and now he’s won this class three times,” said Guy. “He loves it in this ring. He’s a really good horse; he wins all over the world, but when he comes into this ring, he’s feistier. He’s a bit of a character, a bit naughty, but he’s very fast, and so careful.”

Eleven riders went clear in the first round, with five of these producing a second clear against the clock. But no one could match Guy’s time of 37.29sec – with Ireland’s David Simpson finishing more than 3sec in arrears with Foudre F to take second place.

This morning saw the young horse classes take place in the Longines International Arena. Nicole Pavitt took first and third places in The Billy Stud Auction British Six Year Old Jumping Championship on Colliers Carlotta and Genial du Dalot, with British team stalwart Holly Smith and Lorenzo VII in second place. In the Five Year Old Championship, 19-year-old Izac Ketteridge took the spoils with Rosita VD Bisschop.

The Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting draws to a close on Sunday 26 June, with the Al Shira’aa Derby taking place at 2.45pm. Tickets are available at the gate and online, while the action is streamed live on Hickstead.TV and ClipMyHorse.TV

Results are available here.