Allister and Oliver Hood are victorious at the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting
A Diss-based showing dynasty recorded a father-son double feature at the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting in West Sussex.
While family patriarch Allister Hood took the spoils in Friday’s Supreme Cob Championship, it was son Oliver who would triumph in the I.C.E. Horseboxes Supreme Coloured Horse Ridden Championships.
He rode Lisha Leeman’s Kellythorpes Master Key to the top spot in the event – his second victory in as many years.
“He came to us as a five-year-old, and he’s really improved and stepped up this year,” said Hood.
“To be champion two years in a row is great. The year before last, too, he went to the Royal International and was Supreme.”
Kellythorpes Master Key has become something of a Hickstead specialist, but he still remains one of the best-loved horses on the Hood’s yard.
“It is funny, he always seems to come alive at Hickstead. He loves it,” added the rider.
“He is a really great character, and everyone gets to ride him on the yard. He is brilliant.”
Hickstead is one of the premier shows in the country, with showing specialists facing off against committed amateurs to take the top spoils in front of packed grandstands.
“It is one of the biggest shows of the year for us, and you can never ride in that main arena enough times.
“You always want to do it again, and the next time is always the best one. The atmosphere in there is great,” said Hood.
Meanwhile, Hood senior partnered Our Cashel Blue to victory a couple of days earlier.
It showed the prolific champion is back to his best after recovering from a heart attack in April last year.
The horse, meanwhile, was also making a winning comeback having recovered from a rare form of cancer in his shoulder.
“He was the most amazing patient,” said Allister.
“The recovery process included two months in a stable and then several months of gentle walking, gradually building up by a few minutes per day
“It was a pretty long winter, and by the end of it, he felt like he was ready to explode. But he never did, he was so sensible.
“We were always hopeful that the cancer had not spread, but the vets told us that we would never know until he suddenly got very sick or lost weight.
“Now, we are just enjoying every moment we have with him and taking each day as it comes.”
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More by this authorLiam Apicella