The One to Watch

In the run up to the 2017 Longines Royal International Horse Show, Hickstead Press Officer Victoria Goff caught up with Amlin Plus Eventers' Challenge winner Esib Power.  

cp1_8109jpg

Some riders may baulk at Hickstead’s famous Derby obstacles – the 10ft 6in slope of the bank, the double of ditches, the Devil’s Dyke with its downhill drop then uphill climb. But that sort of jump holds no fear for event rider Elizabeth ‘Esib’ Power, who has competed at Badminton and Burghley and ridden at the European Championships. Instead, it was the towering height of the Derby fences that made her most nervous. “Last year when I was walking the Derby course, all the showjumpers were looking at the permanent fences, but I knew my horse wouldn’t look twice at them, I was just nervous about jumping 1.60m!” she laughs.

What gave her confidence was that her horse, Doonaveeragh O One, had already jumped round the famous course two years previously. On his Derby debut in 2014 he was ridden by Esib’s brother, jockey Robbie Power, who finished 16th with 20 faults. Two years later, he was back, this time with Esib in the plate. “I decided during the winter that I wanted to jump the Derby, and I told lots of people so I couldn’t back out of it!” she says. “But when I walked the Derby Trial course on the Friday I started to think I must have been insane. The other riders were laughing at me and asking why I was nervous, since I’ve jumped round Badminton – they kept telling me at least showjumps fall down if you hit them!” 

But the pair qualified for Sunday’s Derby, and when the big class came round Esib need not have worried, with the pair jumping round for just 12 faults to finish a very respectable joint tenth. In doing so, Esib became the first event rider this century to complete Hickstead’s most fearsome course. “I probably wouldn’t do the Derby on any other horse, but I have so much trust and faith in ‘Tommy’, and I know he’d never let me down,” she says.

They came back last month to jump in the Al Shira’aa Derby again, and once more they were impressive, finishing on 9 faults – with the double of water ditches catching them out thanks to the lightest of touches, and a stumbling descent down the bank meaning they couldn’t manage the rails at the bottom.

It is a unique situation – one horse, two siblings from two different disciplines, both returning to their showjumping roots to pick up two of Hickstead’s most coveted titles between them, and not forgetting a Hickstead Derby completion apiece. Doonaveeragh O One made his Hickstead debut in 2011 with Esib, finishing 10th in what was then the Amlin Plus Eventing Grand Prix. Until that point he’d been eventing up to three-star level before suffering a tendon injury, when Esib realised he wouldn’t stand up to the demands of galloping cross-country. Fortunately, he’d always been a very careful showjumper so a new career path lay ahead.

Robbie had asked to ride Tommy in the following year’s Eventing Grand Prix, and Esib readily agreed – providing her brother did all the lengthy rehabilitation work in bringing the horse back to fitness following his injury. With less going on in National Hunt racing in Ireland during the summer months, Robbie was able to put in the hours and make it to Hickstead, where he finished third behind Ireland’s Trevor Breen and Olympic event rider Andrew Nicholson.

Having had a taste of podium success at Hickstead, Robbie and Tommy came back the following year for the British Speed Derby. Whereas the Eventing Grand Prix saw eventers and showjumpers go head to head over a mix of coloured poles and fixed cross-country fences, the Speed Derby is open to showjumpers and includes several of Hickstead’s famous permanent obstacles, including the Devil’s Dyke, Road Crossing, the Irish Bank and the less steep side of the Derby Bank. With the course staying the same in the Speed Derby year on year, it is always incredibly fast and difficult to win. But Robbie, who won the Grand National in 2007, was determined to take the title. “I'm very competitive and love to win - so it doesn't matter whether it's racing or showjumping here on the big stage at Hickstead,” he said at the time.

In 2015, the year after Robbie’s Derby attempt, Esib was back in the saddle for the new format Amlin Plus Eventers’ Challenge. This time she scored the fastest round of the day, but one fence down saw her finish second behind Andrew Nicholson. Last summer, having recently jumped round the Derby course and knowing the horse was more than capable of winning in the International Arena, Esib and Doonaveeragh O One returned to Hickstead for another crack at the Eventers’ Challenge. “I was hoping I wouldn’t have to go as quick this year, but then Tim Price put up a really fast round and it became very serious all of a sudden!” she said. “Although it’s a long drive over from Ireland to do one class, it’s too good a competition to not do. I knew there was a win in him, and when you have horse like him it’s crazy not to do it as he won’t be around forever. I have to capitalise on him now while I still can.”

The pair then proved their supremacy in arena eventing competitions when they were invited to the Stockholm International Horse Show a few months after their Hickstead win. They duly took the title – winning a tractor in the process!

Tommy is 16 years old this season, and Esib plans to bring him back to Hickstead this week for another crack at the MS Amlin Eventers’ Challenge. “He rocks up at Hickstead year in and year out and he goes into that arena not knowing if he’s going to be jumping 1.60m or galloping flat out round the Eventers’ Challenge. That’s what makes him so special, he’s so brave, talented and careful, and he just relishes the big arena.”

Having been round the Derby three times and improving on each attempt, Esib and Tommy are among the ones to watch in next year’s Al Shira’aa Derby. “Last year he came down the Bank a bit quick, but he jumped a super round. In my head, it should have been an eight fault round, we had the white palisade down but that was purely down to me not having been round the course before. This year I was both elated and frustrated with our round – we were so, so close.”

With Robbie and Esib’s mother a former international event rider, and their father Captain Con Power a mainstay of the Irish showjumping team, it is little surprise they turned out to be such multitalented equestrians. Both started out competing in showjumping as children, before Robbie moved to National Hunt racing and Esib began eventing, thanks to a talented pony she had in her youth.

After several years splitting her time between Ireland and a base in Wiltshire, Esib is based permanently in Co Meath and travels over to the UK for the bigger competitions. Last summer she finished third at both the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe and the Event Riders Masters series leg at Chatsworth, and at this year’s Chatsworth she finished seventh, all with the talented Soladoun. She now has three horses to campaign at the higher levels in eventing, several youngsters to bring on and Doonaveeragh O One to showjump. “I have to put the eventing first as I still see myself as an event rider who does a bit of showjumping and not the other way round,” she says. “I absolutely love eventing. I love the eventing family, it’s a great community with brilliant people involved.”

Despite Robbie and Esib both having enjoyed success at Hickstead, the pair have never been able to attend together. Asked if she’d given Robbie any advice when he first took on the ride on Tommy, Esib laughs. “As if he’d take it! He’s annoyingly talented when he comes back to showjumping.”

Ten years after his Grand National win, Robbie is enjoying a phenomenal season in National Hunt racing. He won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the Irish Gold Cup and the Punchestown Gold Cup on Sizing John, and was leading jockey at both Aintree and Punchestown this year. “It’s amazing to see him doing so well.  As a family we know it hasn’t been easy and there’s certainly been some hard times,” says Esib. “Robbie proves that if you keep your head down and work hard then hopefully your time will come.”

Given the Power siblings’ amazing record competing at the All England Jumping Course, you might think Doonaveeragh O One is anyone’s ride, but the truth is far from that. A very sensitive character, only Robbie and Esib can tack him up or ride him. “It’s taken months for Tommy to allow my groom to put his bridle on him!” she explains. 

He may be quirky, but he’s also one of the most consistent and versatile horses we’ve seen at Hickstead in recent years. With two wins under his belt already, don’t be surprised to see him pick up a third, though whether that’s in the MS Amlin Eventers’ Challenge or the Al Shira’aa Derby remains to be seen. What’s more certain, however, is that Esib won’t be handing over the reins again any time soon.

This article was first published in July 2017

paul_tapner_-aus-__bonza_king_of_rouges_ks77657jpg

Perfect Timing

Paul Tapner talks to Hickstead Press Officer Victoria Goff about his first win in the MS Amlin Eventers' Challenge

Read more

sjh_1261jpg

Doing it for Ella

Hickstead's press officer Victoria Goff caught up with Matthew Sampson, the winner of the Bunn Leisure Speed Derby 

Read more

2014derbysun-5973jpg

Race against time

Victoria Goff takes a look back at some of the famous Hickstead Derby jump-offs that have taken place over the years. 

Read more

cp2_0217-2jpg

A New Era

Victoria Goff finds out more about Al Shira'aa, the title sponsors of the Hickstead Derby 

Read more

georgie-strang-2-updatedjpg

Q&A with Georgie Strang

Next week sees one of the UK’s largest horse shows open their gates for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain at the BHS Royal International Horse Show. We caught up with one of the MS Amlin Eventers' Challenge competitors, Georgie Strang, and found out how she’s feeling about returning to Hickstead for her second shot at the title…

Read more

sjh_7123jpg

12 moments we loved at this year’s Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting

The Al Shira’aa Derby drew our June fixture to a close, and what a way to round off four fabulous sunny days of showjumping and showing. We take a look back at some of the best moments of this year’s show.

Read more

hollyjpg

#RoadToHickstead contenders reveal...

We ask some of our leading Al Shira'aa Derby contenders some killer questions.

Read more

nigel-n-harrietjpg

Harriet and Nigel go head-to-head

Two of the main Al Shira'aa Hickstead Derby contenders, Harriet Nuttall and Nigel Coupe, discuss this year's challenge.

Read more

alshira5-9-cropped-large-jpg

Hickstead Q&A - Hamad Ali Al Kirbi

UAE rider Hamad Ali Al Kirbi made his Hickstead debut last summer when he competed at the Al Shira'aa Hickstead Derby Meeting. We caught up with him ahead of this year's show. 

Read more

guess-who-1jpg

Can you spot our Mystery Guests?

We're very busy preparing the International Arena ahead of this year's Al Shira'aa Hickstead Derby Meeting CSI4*, and with spring being somewhat late to arrive this year we've had to ask some special guests to join our Ground Crew! 

Read more

sjh_5445jpg

Billy the King

Ireland's Billy Twomey enjoyed an amazing run of success at the 2016 BHS Royal International Horse Show, including a win in the Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup. Victoria Goff spoke to him about his golden run.

Read more

sjh_4648jpg

A home from home

Hickstead is very familiar stomping ground for David Simpson, the Queen Elizabeth II Cup winner in 2016. Victoria Goff spoke to him about winning on 'home territory'. 

Read more

cp1_8109jpg

The One to Watch

In the run up to the 2017 Longines Royal International Horse Show, Hickstead Press Officer Victoria Goff caught up with Amlin Plus Eventers' Challenge winner Esib Power.  

Read more

1976-79-eddie-macken-boomerangjpg

The nation's favourites

Earlier this year, we asked you to vote for your favourite Derby-winning horses. Victoria Spicer counts down your top 10. 

Read more

sjh_2041jpg

An unforgettable Adventure

Adventure De Kannan is one of the most successful Hickstead horses of recent times. Victoria Goff looks back at the remarkable career of the one-eyed wonder horse

Read more

cp1_9607-01jpg

William Whitaker: How to win the Derby

The 2016 Hickstead Derby winner William Whitaker shares his winning formula! 

Read more

sjh_8226-medium-jpg

William Whitaker: Advice for Hickstead newcomers

If you haven't ridden at the All England Jumping Course before, reigning Hickstead Derby champion William Whitaker shares his insights into competing here.

Read more

6dhb_5414willwhitderbypromolesson130317-c-honeybunnphotographyjpg

William Whitaker: The perfect warm-up

The current Hickstead Derby champion William Whitaker explains how to nail your warm-up routine, both at home and at competitions. 

Read more

90dhb_7244derbypromo130317-c-honeybunnphotographyjpg

William Whitaker: Winning a jump-off

Want to nail those jump-off rounds? Hickstead Derby 2016 champion William Whitaker shares his advice, and suggests two training exercises to improve your performance against the clock. 

Read more

19dhb_5523willwhitderbypromolesson130317-c-honeybunnphotographyjpg

William Whitaker's training secrets

In the run up to this year’s Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting, reigning Derby champion William Whitaker shares his showjumping training insights.

Words by Victoria Spicer, photos by Daisy Honeybunn

Read more

derby-sat2013sam-3131jpg

6 links between Hickstead and the Grand National

The home of British Showjumping and the most famous race on earth have more in common than you might think, writes Victoria Spicer...

Read more

470a7706jpg

A winning debut

Chloe Winchester, winner of the Templant Events Queen Elizabeth II Cup in 2015, chats to Victoria Spicer about her winning debut at Hickstead

Read more

470a9752jpg-1

Elizabeth the first

Last year Elizabeth 'Beezie' Madden became the first woman ever to win the Longines King George V Gold Cup. In 2015, she did it again. Hickstead's Press Officer Victoria Spicer caught up with America's first lady of showjumping. 

Read more

whitaker-12-jpg

12 moments we loved at this year's Derby meeting

There was rain, there was mud, but much more importantly there was some brilliant competition at this year's Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby Meeting. We choose our top 12 moments from this year's show. 

Read more

jp_b1743-large-jpg

Back on top

Hickstead Press Officer Victoria Spicer chats to the connections of Loughnatousa WB, a horse who holds a very special record in the Derby...

Read more

corrada-02jpg

Three in a row

Journalist Andrew Baldock takes a look back over the Hickstead archives at the three riders who have won the Derby three times in succession - and finds out which other riders came close...

Read more

jp_a1891-large-jpg

A cool guy

Victoria Spicer chats to Guy Williams, the winner of the 2015 British Speed Derby, about setting records and why Hickstead will always be special to him

Read more

2014derbysun-0171jpg

Eight great Derby rivalries

There have been some amazing clashes in the 56 years of the Hickstead Derby. Pippa Cuckson takes a look at some of the great rivalries over the years...

Read more

2014derbysun-6012jpg

Breen’s Derby dream comes true

Hickstead's Press Officer Victoria Spicer chats to the 2014 winner of the Equestrian.com Derby, Trevor Breen. 

Read more

10499590_10152593085572845_1006106591594047306_o-medium-jpg

Five Minutes with Fran Callan

Continuing our new Five Minutes With... series, we caught up with Fran Callan, the head travelling groom for Trevor Breen. As part of her job, she looks after Hickstead megastar and reigning Equestrian.com Derby winner Adventure De Kannan...

Read more

derby-sun2013sam-3916jpg

Miller's tale

Victoria Spicer meets Phillip Miller, winner of the 2013 Hickstead Derby, to talk about his rise from riding school lessons to Hickstead champion. 

Read more

hdc13phillaughjpg

A lesson with Derby winner Phillip Miller

When we ran an exclusive Hickstead Derby Community competition to win a lesson with the 2013 Derby winner Phillip Miller, we had a great response. In the end, we selected 25-year-old Jodine Brooks from Kent and her seven-year-old Dutch gelding, Camorasun.

Read more

dougsidewaysjpg

Five minutes with Douglas Hinckley

Hickstead Director Daisy Bunn continues her 'Five Minutes With' series with Douglas Hinckley, the managing director of WHMG, the firm responsible for all of Hickstead's on-site security and stable management…

Read more

2014derbysun-5998jpg

15 facts about the Derby course

From poles that 'twang', resident newts and motorway fences turned into showjumps, Victoria Spicer investigates 15 things that you might not know about the most famous course in British showjumping...

Read more

philip-miller-hdc-selfiejpg

Five minutes with Phillip Miller

Her latest victim in the 'Five Minutes With Series…', Daisy sits down with natural born comedian and Hickstead Derby superstar, 2013 winner Phillip Miller…

Read more

bobheadshotstaringjpg

Five minutes with Bob Ellis

Daisy Bunn is back in the interviewer's chair this week with Hickstead's very own Bob The Buider, world renowned, Olympic course builder Bob Ellis...

Read more

image3jpg

10 iconic Derby moments

Last seen disappearing into our dusky archives, Hickstead Press Officer and journalist Victoria Spicer has put together a review of 10 of our most iconic Derby moments over the years, specially for our HDC members. 

Read more

stevewildewithmicfrontbankjpg

Five Minutes with Steve Wilde

Continuing our new Five Minutes With... interview series, Hickstead Director Daisy Bunn sits down with Hickstead's 'golden tonsils', commentator and Director of Ceremonies Steve Wilde...

Read more

daisyjpg

Five minutes with Daisy Bunn

As part of a new series, exclusively for our HDC members, Hickstead Director Daisy Bunn is going to catch key members of the Hickstead team for mini 5 minute interviews, to give our members a unique, behind-the-scenes take on everything Hickstead. Who better to start with than Daisy herself!

Read more

jwhitwinningderbypng

The best of the best

Equestrian journalist Charlotte Ricca-Smith asks Hickstead Derby winners to name the performance - apart from their own! - that impressed them most. 

Read more

paulbeechernoflagsjpg

A Hickstead first

In 2013, Paul Beecher became the first person to produce a clear round having been drawn first to go in the Hickstead Derby, then go on to win the class. Victoria Spicer spoke to him about his achievement.

Read more

bwharveybankpng

A National treasure

Harvey Smith is the only man to have won both the Hickstead Derby and trained a Grand National winner. Victoria Spicer reflects on his remarkable achievement.

Read more

london2012goldwinnerspng

Olympic heroes

Did you know that three out of the four showjumping gold medallists from London 2012 are past winners of the Hickstead Derby? Victoria Spicer catches up with them to find out what those wins meant.

Read more

Worth The Wait

Victoria Goff describes the wait Nigel Coupe had before he finally become the Al Shira'aa Derby Champion last summer. 

Read more

FOLLOW US

CONTACT US
 

THE ALL ENGLAND
JUMPING COURSE
HICKSTEAD
WEST SUSSEX
RH17 5NU
UNITED KINGDOM

Tel: +44 1273 834315
Fax: +44 1273 834452

View our Privacy Policy.