To mark Al Shira’aa’s Hickstead Derby sponsorship, a stunning new trophy has been designed that the rider will get to take home and keep, providing a lasting memento of their Derby win.
“We thought it would be great for the rider to be able to keep a memory of their very well deserved win and therefore decided to create a new trophy which not only fulfils this need but celebrates the involvement of Al Shira’aa with this iconic event,” says Thomas O’Brien, UK Supervisor for Al Shira’aa.
Drawn in Arabic calligraphy and made in gold gilt, the new Al Shira’aa trophy takes the form of a wind sail and horse’s head. It has been specially made in the United Arab Emirates and reflects the history and passion of the Al Shira’aa brand.
Al Shira’aa actually refers to the sails of a sailboat – a reflection of the company’s ancestry when the sea and pearl diving was the focus of its trading business. The design of the sails has been ingeniously combined with the passion that is Al Shira’aa today, the horse.
“We are so excited about our new Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Trophy,” says Kate Moisson, UK Project Manager for Al Shira’aa. “It is both beautiful and meaningful and we hope that the recipients, both this year and in years to come, will love and cherish it, as we do.”
The history of the Derby trophy matches the colourful history of the class itself. When the Hickstead Derby was first held in 1961, the winners took home the Wills Gold Trophy. Two years later, Brazilian sensation Nelson Pessoa won the Derby for the first time – but he was unable to take home the trophy as it had been stolen from a shop window in central London shortly before the class!
Then there was the famous story of Harvey Smith’s Hickstead ‘V’ sign. Having won the Derby in 1970 on Mattie Brown, Harvey returned to the All England Jumping Course the following year without bringing back the trophy. He claimed to have forgotten it, but Hickstead founder Douglas Bunn felt that Harvey was arrogantly assuming he would repeat his win. After winning the jump-off, 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, although eventually both the trophy and prizemoney were reinstated.
Eight years later in 1979, Irishman Eddie Macken was given the Trophy to keep after winning the class an incredible four times in a row – a record no one has been able to match. Eddie’s then sponsors, Carroll’s, commissioned Irish sculptor Emma MacDermott to create a new trophy that depicted Eddie and his four-time Derby champion Boomerang descending the Derby Bank.
Nearly 40 years on, the Boomerang Trophy is still presented to the winner of the Derby, though this year will be the first time that the winning rider takes home a second trophy that they get to keep.
The Al Shira’aa Derby takes place on Sunday 25 June, forming the grand finale to the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting (22-25 June).
Tickets are on sale now at www.hickstead.co.uk.