They’re good friends out of the show ring but make no mistake about it, Trevor Breen and Phillip Miller will be going all out to beat the other in this year’s Equestrian.com Derby at Hickstead (Sunday 28 June 2015).
In 2013, Phillip scored his first win in Hickstead’s most famous class, claiming the only clear round on the grey gelding Caritiar Z. Trevor had to settle for runner-up spot that year, later describing it as ‘the worst second place he’d ever had’.
The roles were reversed last year, however, with Trevor and the ‘one-eyed wonder horse’ Adventure De Kannan beating Phillip and ‘Carter’ by a few hundredths of a second. It was the closest Derby finish on record.
Both have got the Equestrian.com Derby firmly in their sights this month, but they certainly won’t have it their own way. Former winners Geoff Billington, William Funnell and Guy Williams are all intending to come back for another crack at the title, having previously had their name stamped on the famous Boomerang Trophy. There’s also Tim Stockdale, who has come very close to winning with a second place in 2000 and remains as determined as ever to win it. Fellow Olympian David McPherson is also one to watch in this year’s renewal.
Ireland’s Shane Breen – who is based at Hickstead – is yet to win the Derby, and he could well join his brother Trevor on the roll of honour. Dermott Lennon, a former world champion, is another who could well jump clear round the Derby course.
Last year flagged up a number of strong contenders, including Ireland’s David Simpson, South Africa’s Jade Hooke and Britain’s Harriet Nuttall, while Nigel Coupe marked himself as one to watch finishing seventh on Golvers Hill. Meanwhile, William Whitaker – joint third last year – is back for another go and he’ll be joined by a bevy of Whitakers, including cousins Robert, Donald and Joe, not forgetting Ellen Whitaker. She finished second in 2004, and is making her return to Hickstead following the birth of her first baby last year.
So while Phillip Miller and Trevor Breen will no doubt start as favourites, anything can happen, as the Equestrian.com Derby often proves – and this year we could well see a new rider take the title.
Tickets are on sale now at www.hickstead.co.uk
The Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby Meeting 25th – 28th June 2015
The Longines Royal International Horse Show 28th July – 2nd August 2015
The Hurst College National Schools & Pony Club Championships, 6 August 2015
The All England Jumping Championships 3rd – 6th September 2015