The one-eyed wonderhorse who won the Hickstead Derby

By Derby House on |



It was one of the great equine performances in 2014 – a one-eyed wonderhorse winning the Hickstead Derby.

And Adventure De Kannan did not stop there, as just five weeks later he added Hickstead’s Queen Elizabeth II Cup to a burgeoning title portfolio.

“Addy” has already gone down in history among the greatest horses Hickstead has ever seen

As the countdown to this year’s Derby on June 28 continues, “Addy” has already gone down in history among the greatest horses Hickstead has ever seen.

It is not just the Derby and Queen Elizabeth II Cup that has seen him wow the crowds, either. He also has the Hickstead speed derby crown to his name, in addition to the All England grand prix and the eventing grand prix.

Amid Hickstead’s glorious annals – an illustrious history headed by the mighty combination of Eddie Macken and Boomerang – Adventure De Kannan and his Irish rider Trevor Breen can confidently rub shoulders with the sport’s finest.

Picture by Matthew Seed

Picture by Matthew Seed

And with the Derby approaching, leading equine photographer Matthew Seed was commissioned by Hickstead to create a series of images that reflect a truly magnificent partnership that has captured hearts throughout the horse world.

The photographs have now been released, with the most popular of seven voted for by Hickstead social media followers being auctioned at the Derby show next month to raise funds for the Mark Davies Injured Riders’ Fund.

“We had a fantastic day with Trevor and his family, and I think the resulting photos really capture the amazing bond between Trevor and his horse,” said Matthew, who spent a day at the Breen yard in Buckinghamshire.

“I’ve worked with lots of horses, but Addy was one of the easiest equine models. He was endlessly patient and stood beautifully throughout.”

Addy is also a winner of several international grands prix and has represented Ireland at Nations Cup level, but what makes him remarkable has been his return to top-level showjumping after undergoing surgery to remove his right eye barely two years ago.

The gelding had a deteriorating eye condition, and for the horse’s comfort, it was decided to have the eye removed, leaving Trevor and the horse’s owner Karen Swann knowing there would be inevitable doubts about the horse’s ability to compete again at international level.

But they need not have worried, because just two months later he finished second in the Hickstead Derby, and then last June Addy landed the title as Trevor guided him home to win a thrilling jump-off against England’s Phillip Miller and Caritiar Z – the 2013 Derby champions – by just 0.02 of a second in a breathtaking, pulsating finale.

Hickstead director Lizzie Bunn said: “Trevor and Addy have an incredible record at Hickstead – no other horse has won such an array of major titles at our shows.

“We wanted to mark his achievements in some way, so we approached Matthew Seed about creating this very special photoshoot. We think the resulting images are truly spectacular, with each photograph forming a work of art.”

From Trevor’s perspective, he has no doubt that his horse can enjoy further Hickstead success, adding: “I want to win again. I definitely think Addy could be one of those horses who could win the Derby several times.”

They will be back for more next month, hoping to write another memorable chaper when the Hickstead Derby takes centre-stage at the Sussex venue.

First held in 1961, the Derby course’s degree of difficulty is underlined by the fact there has only been a total of 54 clear rounds during that time when combinations have conquered such iconic challenges as the Derby Bank and Devil’s Dyke.

Macken holds the record for four consecutive wins on Boomerang, while other legendary names to have triumphed include David Broome, Harvey Smith, John Whitaker and Nick Skelton.

Trevor Breen and Addy though, could yet become the greatest of all.



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