Ireland’s Shane Breen has added his name to the illustrious list of riders to have won the world famous Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby in Britain, after he lifted the Boomerang Trophy today (Sunday) after coming agonisingly close to winning on several occasions over the past two decades.
A native of Cashel in Co Tipperary, Shane Breen first came close to winning the Hickstead showcase back in 2005, when tying for third place with his future wife Chloe Bunn, the daughter of the All England Jumping Course founder Douglas Bunn.
Seventeen years later, having finished second and third in the class on a number of occasions, Shane finally lifted the Boomerang Trophy after delivering the sole clear round of the competition with the 16-year-old stallion Can Ya Makan.
"I never normally feel pressure but I was actually getting a bit anxious, because everyone kept saying ‘It’s your year!’ and I’d say, ‘It’s been my year for the last 15 years’,” he said.
“I’ve been saying to people that when I’m 80 I’ll come down with a Zimmer frame and just have one old horse to jump around the Derby with, but I won’t have to do that now, thank God!”
He also produced a brilliant round on Golden Hawk to finish on four faults, giving him a one-two finish with his two rides. “If you’d asked me this morning which horse would have gone better, I couldn’t have told you,” he added.
“Golden Hawk has been an amazing horse for me, and I’d have loved for either of them to have won. But it was Can Ya Makan’s day, and again, he’s been an amazing horse for me in my career.
“When I jumped over the last with Can Ya Makan, something inside of me got quite emotional. Thankfully, it was my day today. I live here and walk around that showground every day, so it’s nice to know that I had my moment in that arena.”
Breen and Golden Hawk shared second place with three others – former World Champion, Ireland’s Dermott Lennon (Gelvins Touch (ISH), Brazil’s Carlos Eduardo Mota Ribas (Jella Van’t Kathof) and Harriet Biddick and A Touch Imperious (ISH).