Who will win the Equestrian.com Derby?

This Sunday, 35 horses and riders will be aiming for victory in one of the most famous showjumping classes of all - the Equestrian.com Derby.


Last year's winner Phillip Miller hopes to make it two in a row riding Caritiar Z, the horse who took him to victory 12 months ago. Horses who have won the Derby once statistically have a good chance of a repeat victory, and Phillip believes the grey gelding is capable of producing another clear round on Sunday. But the reigning Derby champion, who is currently ranked 14th in Britain, faces stiff competition from a number of other former winners.

The 2010 Derby champion Guy Williams is back with Skip Two Ramiro, a horse with a superb record in Derbies. The chestnut gelding, who is now 18 years old, has been placed in Hickstead's most famous class every year bar one since 2003, under three different riders. With such consistency, it would not be a surprise to see Guy and 'Skippy' back in contention this weekend.

William Funnell - who won the Derby in 2006, 2008 and 2009 with Cortaflex Mondriaan - has the homebred Billy Onslow at this year's meeting. The pair came second at the Eindhoven Derby earlier this month so they've arrived at Hickstead in good form.

The last lady rider to win the Derby was Tina Fletcher, who partnered Promised Land to a brilliant victory in 2011. She's hoping to jump Unique IX in Sunday's feature class - a horse who has previously won the Queen Elizabeth II Cup here at Hickstead. Geoff Billington, the 2007 winner, has brought three horses with him for the international classes this weekend, and he could be another to watch come Sunday afternoon.

Irish rider Trevor Breen has made no secret about the fact he would love to win the Equestrian.com Derby, having come so close several times. This year he's back with the one-eyed horse Adventure de Kannan, who came third in 2012 and second last year. Trevor also has a new ride in Patricia Brown's 2012 winner, Loughnatousa WB - it's a new partnership but both horse and rider have proved themselves capable of doing well round the Derby course.

The younger generation of Whitakers are on great form at the moment, with William winning the main class at the recent Bolesworth International, and cousin Robert victorious at the Royal Windsor Grand Prix. Other young riders to look out for include Harriet Nuttall, Matt Sampson and Joe Clayton.

But first all the riders have to qualify in the Bunn Leisure Derby Trial, the main class tomorrow, which gets underway at 11.30am.

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