Hickstead Derby winner to take home stylish new “keeper” trophy

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The new Al Shira’aa Trophy will be presented to the winner of the Derby at Hickstead.
The new Al Shira’aa Trophy will be presented to the winner of the Derby at Hickstead.

A new trophy will be presented to the winner of the Hickstead Derby, one of the world’s most iconic showjumping competitions.

2016 Hickstead Derby winner William Whitaker.
2016 Hickstead Derby winner William Whitaker.

To mark Al Shira’aa’s Hickstead Derby sponsorship, a stunning new trophy has been designed that the winner rider will get to take home and keep, providing a lasting memento of their Derby win. They will also receive the iconic Boomerang Trophy.

“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.

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.

Harvey Smith's infamous "victory" gesture after winning the Hickstead Derby for the second year in succession in 1971.
Harvey Smith’s infamous “victory” gesture after winning the Hickstead Derby for the second year in succession in 1971.

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 £2000 was removed, although eventually both the trophy and prizemoney were reinstated.

The Boomerang Trophy.
The Boomerang Trophy.

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.

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.

The Wills Gold Trophy, which was stolen from a London shop before Nelson Pessoa could take it home in 1963.
The Wills Gold Trophy, which was stolen from a London shop before Nelson Pessoa could take it home in 1963.

“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.”

Al Shira’aa Stables LLC is an Abu Dhabi-based equestrian company dedicated to the support and promotion of all horses and equestrian sports. Al Shira’aa is dedicated to the care of horses, of all types with their heritage of horsemanship going back across centuries.  It was founded by Sheikha Fatima Bint Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The Al Shira’aa Derby takes place on Sunday, June 25, forming the grand finale to the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting.

 

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