Saturday, May. 25, 2024

Throwback Thursday: The Kings Of Hickstead



In the 1970s Eddie Macken and the legendary Boomerang won nearly every grand prix they entered and became celebrities—fans even sent letters addressed directly to Boomerang.

Macken and Boomerang won the Hickstead Derby (England) four times between 1976 and 1979, retiring the trophy on their last win. The show now presents the Boomerang Trophy to the derby winner each year in their honor.

Prior to this year’s running of the historic class, Hickstead put together a video commemorating Macken and Boomerang’s success in the class, which you can watch below:

“[Boomerang] was that good that you kind of expected him to win all the time,” lifelong groom Fiona Dowley said. “I don’t think either of us appreciated it at the time how great he actually was, because it was nearly normal. It would have been unusual to go to a big show and come home without winning the grand prix or at least two classes with him. He was amazing like that. It became kind of commonplace. He was a horse who, no matter what, the bigger the audience the better he performed. He’d really pull it out. He’d grow two hands if there was a big audience. He absolutely loved it. He wanted to win the whole time.”

This year’s winner of the Al Shira’aa Derby at Hickstead, 19-year-old Irish rider Michael Pender, made history himself by becoming the youngest ever to take home the trophy.


If you want to read more of Dowley’s memories of Boomerang, check out this Throwback Thursday, where she reflects on his career.

For a more in-depth read about Boomerang, be sure to check out the April 8 & 15, 2019, print edition of the Chronicle for a look at Macken and Boomerang’s storied partnership in “Horse Of A Lifetime: Boomerang.”

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