Diamonds Are For Ever- second Hickstead win

The British Horse Society Supreme Horse Championship at Hickstead went to Diamonds Are Forever for the second year in a row.

Twelve months ago, show producer Allister Hood took the title, and this year it was son Oliver who piloted Annabel Jenks’ nine-year-old gelding to take the overall honours.

Diamonds Are Forever picked up his supreme championship ticket in Friday’s Saracen Horse Feeds Supreme Riding Horse Championship. He has now been crowned champion Riding Horse for three years running, as well as twice winning overall supreme.

The three judges – Badminton Horse Trials 1990 winner Nicky Coe, former show producer Jane Crofts and Adrian Charley, owner of Townfields Saddlery – awarded Diamonds Are Forever 29 out of 30 to put them top.

Oliver Hood and Diamonds Are Forever Photo copyright: Sian Hayden

“He’s a once in a lifetime horse, and we’re enjoying every minute with him,” said Oliver. “He’s really at his best when there’s a big crowd and he just goes up another gear.”

The Hoods are now hoping he will become the first horse to win the Supreme three times in a row. “He’s always an exciting horse to bring out, without question we’ll be aiming to come back and win again next year,” Oliver added.

In reserve with 28 points was Robert Walker and Jill Day’s Saracen Horse Feeds Supreme Hunter champion, View Point.

The De La Hey Family Supreme Pony Championship then followed, and this time it was Melanie Stanford’s Highland stallion Benbreac of Croila who took top spot, with Matthew Cooper riding.

Benbreac of Croila, the winner of the BSPS Heritage Mountain and Moorland victor, and Moluccas Bengal Beauty, the Leeman Family BSPS Supreme Show Pony Champion, both finished on 25 points so had to ‘ride off’ for the title.

In the end, the 11-year-old Highland’s rousing gallop got him the nod from the judges. “He’s an absolute pony of a lifetime, and we bought him unhandled straight from the hillside in Scotland,” said Gemma Stanford, who is the BHS Director of Horse Welfare and the daughter of the pony’s owner. “He’s had an incredible in-hand career and now he’s having an incredible ridden career too. He’s a working stallion and his offspring are now starting to show with great results. He’s like a Thoroughbred in a Highland’s body.”

The supreme championships brought six days of showing at the BHS Royal International Horse Show to a close. The event is the most prestigious showing competition of the outdoor season, with thousands of horses and ponies competing throughout the year with the aim of collecting a qualifying ticket to compete at Hickstead.

Lightning Spear aimed at Sussex Stakes

Oisin Murphy is hoping Lightning Spear’s effectiveness at Goodwood can help the seven-year-old gain a deserved first Group 1 triumph in the £1,066,250 Qatar Sussex Stakes on Wednesday.

Lightning Spear winning the 2016 Celebration Mile Photo: Harry Elliot

The Qatar Racing-owned horse, who features among a final field of eight, must be one of the few horses in the modern era to have been placed in six Group 1 races – all of them falling under the QIPCO British Champions Series umbrella – without quite managing to win one. On three occasions he has been beaten under a length.

This season he has shown himself to be as good as ever, being beaten a short head by Rhododendron in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes before going down by half a length and a neck in last month’s Queen Anne Stakes, won by Accidental Agent, at Royal Ascot.

Speaking of the QIPCO  British Champions Series, Murphy said:“This horse needs to win a Group 1 because he’s the most beautiful physical specimen with a good temperament and the pedigree,”

“If we can get a Group 1 in the UK he would deserve his place at stud and, realistically, he would be an exciting stallion prospect.

“He’s been freshened up since Ascot and is in super order. As he gets older he’s not losing any ability. He’s won two Celebration Miles at Goodwood and he was placed in the Sussex last year when the ground was bottomless. I’d say the track probably suits him better than Ascot because there’s a turn.”

Reflecting back on his latest near-miss, at the Royal Meeting, when he traded long odds-on in running after hitting the front a furlong from home, Murphy said: “When you don’t win you look back and see what you could have done differently and, if I’m being a bit self-critical, I hit the front a little early.”

“I led at the furlong pole, whereas the winner hit the front only about 100 yards or so from the line. I need to bear that in mind going forward. I thought the time was right to go because I didn’t feel we had gone overly hard, but we got racing in plenty of time.”

Standing in Lightning Spear’s way are two exciting three-year-olds who did manage to win at Royal Ascot – Without Parole and Expert Eye. The former, an unbeaten son of Frankel, won the St James’s Palace Stakes, while the latter trounced his opponents in the Jersey Stakes.

Team Ireland wins Nations Cup™ at Hickstead

It came down to a head-to-head battle between Britain and Ireland, but in the end Team Ireland rode out the winners of yesterday’s Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain at Hickstead.

The team of Trevor Breen (Bombay), Richie Moloney (Freestyle De Muze), Michael Duffy (EFS Top Contender) and Anthony Condon (SFS Aristio) were on superb form to lift the Edward, Prince of Wales trophy. It was the fourth time in the history of this competition that Ireland has won, while Great Britain was denied what would have been their 37th win and their first home win since 2010.

British team riders parade in the rain before the Nations Cup Photo: John Periam periam.photojournalist@btopenworld.com

“It’s obviously no surprise that the English and Irish were on top – the conditions were not easy but like everyone said the ground showed a lot of support and enabled us to have a good competition,” said Ireland’s chef d’equipe Rodrigo Pessoa. “In the jump-off we had the advantage of going after Great Britain and we could see what we had to do. Anthony did a superb job to bring it home.”

The winning Irish team
Photo: Nigel Goddard

Britain and Ireland had been neck and neck from the start. In round one, Richie Moloney had gone clear while Trevor, Michael and Anthony each had just one fence down for Ireland. Britain had had a tougher task in round one, when pathfinder Scott Brash’s horse took aversion to the water and was eliminated after two refusals. It piled pressure on his three team mates, but Holly Smith and Amanda Derbyshire both finished on four faults apiece and William Whitaker gave Great Britain a boost when producing the home nation’s only clear in round one. Belgium were close behind on nine faults, last year’s winners Brazil tied with Sweden and the Netherlands in fourth with 16 faults while Italy sat at the bottom of the leaderboard with 17 faults.

Things unravelled for the Netherlands in the second half when Johnny Pals added 23 faults to their tally, so they retired into seventh place. Britain’s Scott Brash had no more luck getting Hello Shelby over the water in the second round, so once again Team GBR was down to three riders.

Ireland’s first two riders, Trevor and Richie, both finished on four faults while Michael went clear. Amanda Derbyshire gave Britain a clear while Holly and William both knocked one fence down, so the teams were tied on 16 faults each. Ireland’s Anthony Condon would have had to jump clear to give Ireland the win, but when he also faulted it meant the two teams would have to jump off.

Holly Smith, who has superb form at Hickstead, was elected to jump against the clock with the talented Hearts Destiny. She delivered a perfect clear in a time of 43.39sec to keep British hopes alive. But Anthony Condon and the 12-year-old SFS Aristio got home more than 2sec faster in a time of 41.29sec to give Ireland the win.

“I got to see Holly’s round, and her horse has got a big stride and is quite fast, but my horse is very fast so I had to go at his pace, and it worked,” said Anthony. “He tried his heart out and was very quick to the last but he’s very careful so I could keep going.”

Britain’s Holly Smith said: “I think if we’d had four team members all jumping we’d have won it but that’s horses – they’re unpredictable and it does happen.”

Last year’s winners Brazil had to settle for third place, although their anchorman Marlon Modola Zanotelli did win the £50,000 bonus for jumping the only double clear on Sirene De La Motte.

Today’s other international showjumping class was the Old Lodge International 7&8 Year Old Championship, which went to the USA’s Laura Kraut and Greatfull ahead of Britain’s Scott Brash and Hello Franklin.

The Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain brought Hickstead’s international season to a close. The next national fixtures are the two-day Hurstpierpoint College National Schools and Pony Club Jumping Championships (August1&2 ) and the All England Jumping Championships (August 30 – September 2).

Atzeni reunited with Stradivarius in Goodwood Cup

Andrea Atzeni is relishing being reunited with outstanding stayer Stradivarius in the £500,000 Qatar Goodwood Cup (3.35pm) on Tuesday-part of the Quipco British Champions Series.


Atzeni has an unblemished record on the John Gosden-trained colt, guiding him to victory in the Goodwood Cup 12 months ago, having previously landed the Queen’s Vase on him at Royal Ascot

Since then, Stradivarius has continued to thrive and this season he has landed the Mansionbet Yorkshire Cup and Gold Cup. Those races, like the Goodwood Cup, form part of the Long Distance category of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

Andrea Atzeni

Atzeni gets another chance to shine on him because usual rider Frankie Dettori is serving a six-day ban. In addition, Atzeni will also deputise aboard another Gosden star, the unbeaten Without Parole, in the Qatar Sussex Stakes on Wednesday.

“Most of the main stables have got their own jockeys and great spares like this are extremely hard to come by,” Atzeni said. “It’s exciting to get the call and hopefully I’ll repay the faith.

“Stradivarius was never my ride last year. I only rode him at Royal Ascot because Frankie was injured and Rab Havlin was banned. Then, at Goodwood, Frankie decided to ride Big Orange [who was seeking a third successive win in the race and finished second].”

Atzeni suggested after last year’s Goodwood Cup that Stradivarius, owned and bred by Bjorn Nielsen, was immature and that “he doesn’t know he’s a racehorse yet”. He says his subsequent transformation has been something to behold.

“He was young, still quite narrow and a little bit weak this time last year,” he said. “When I saw him in the paddock at York in May [before his fluent win in the Yorkshire Cup] I hardly recognised him. He was a lot stronger and was much more the finished article – a completely different horse.

Stradivarius in winning form at Goodwood
Photo courtesy of John Simpson

“He was very good that day and then very brave when winning the Gold Cup at Ascot. He’s the best stayer around and I’m delighted to be back on him.”

Asked what he identifies as the four-year-old’s principal attributes, he said: “He stays very well but at the same time he’s not short of tactical speed and, for a stayer, he can quicken as well.

“If he turns up [in his best form], they’ve all got to him to beat. On what he’s done this year he’s the best horse in the race. It’s a Group 1 and they are never easy because you are taking on top quality horses but it’s only fair he’s the odds-on favourite.”

Extra spice is added by the fact that Stradivarius’s wins at York and Ascot mean he is halfway towards landing the Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers’ Million. His connections will land the seven-figure sum should he win at Goodwood and then the last leg, the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup, another Series contest, at York next month.

Atzeni’s contribution, assuming Dettori is back on board at York, would entitle him to £25,000, although he had been oblivious of the bonus. “Seriously?” he said with a smile.

The opposition is headed by Torcedor, runaway winner of the Longines Sagaro Stakes at Ascot in May before finishing a close third to Stradivarius in the Gold Cup.

Call To Mind will attempt to provide Her Majesty The Queen with a third success in the Goodwood Cup, having previously seen her famous colours carried to victory by Apprentice (1965) and Gaulois (1966). Call To Mind won the Grade 2 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational Stakes over two miles at Belmont Park on his latest start, although he had previously been no match for Stradivarius when third to him in the Yorkshire Cup.

William Haggas, who trains Call To Mind, is also represented by Dal Harraild, beaten a neck in the Group 3 John Smith’s Silver Cup at York on his latest start. He will be equipped with first-time blinkers.

Aidan O’Brien relies on Idaho, who finished third in the 2016 Investec Derby. The five-year-old will be stepping up to two miles for the first time.

Desert Skyline’s exploits include winning the Doncaster Cup last year but he has finished behind Stradivarius in the three occasions they have met – including when third in the Goodwood Cup last year. St Michel, a close third in the Lonsdale Cup last year, completes the line-up.

British team for under 25 European dressage

The Senior Selection Panel of David Trott, Linda Whetstone and Judy Harvey have announced their selected quartet to contest the FEI u25 European Championships in Exloo, the Netherlands, from August 13 – 17. 

In alphabetical order the four riders are as follows;

Rebecca Edwards (21) from Reading, Berkshire with Sarah Oppenheimer’s Headmore Delegate (chestnut, gelding, 16.2hh, 15yrs, Dimaggio x Akut)

Rebecca Edwards  and Headmore Delegate  competing in a Young Rider Individual Test – FEI European Dressage Championships  last year. Photo: British Dressage

Charlotte Fry (22) from Scarborough, North Yorkshire (based in Den Hout, the Netherlands) with her own and Anne Van Olst’s Dark Legend V (bay, gelding, 17hh, 10yrs, Zucchero x Tango)

Claire Gallimore (24) from St Albans, Hertfordshire (based in Hoorn, the Netherlands) with Jane Gallimore’s Annette Ballerina (bay, mare, 13yrs, 16.1hh, Scandic x Jazz)

Ryan Todd (25) from Halifax, West Yorkshire with Julie Todd’s Charlex Eskebjerg(bay, gelding, 16.2hh, 17yrs, Carano x Midt West Ibi Light)

First reserve
Ellie McCarthy (21) from New Milton, Hampshire with Bridget McCarthy’s Sir Lancelot M (grey, stallion, 13yrs, 16.3hh, Lordanos x Ginsberg 4)

Second reserve
Lucy Pincus (21) from Hereford, Herefordshire with David Pincus’s Sheepcote Doncalisto (bay, gelding, 12yrs, 16.3hh, Don Shufro x Lucky Boy)

Jason Brautigam, Chief Executive for British Dressage, commented: “It’s been an exciting season for these riders so far with some excellent scores posted here and abroad which puts us in a great position to send a strong team to Exloo.  We wish Rebecca, Charlotte, Claire and Ryan all the best as they prepare for the Championships next month and we will be following their progress with great interest.”

Kevin Jochems wins King George V Gold Cup

The Netherlands’ Kevin Jochems had an early birthday present when winning yesterday’s Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup at Hickstead.

This prestigious Grand Prix with a €150,000 prize fund was first held in 1911, and it remains a class that every top show jumper wants to win. This year it was the turn of rising star Jochems, who will celebrate his 23rd birthday on the final day of the show (Sunday 29 July).

It is the first season that the rider has competed at Hickstead, and indeed his first season contesting five-star international shows. Despite the disadvantage of going first in the jump-off, Kevin clocked up a fast clear in a time of 50.35sec with the 11-year-old Captain Cooper, and none of the other six riders to follow him could catch his time.

Kevin Jochems and Captain Cooper, winners of the Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup Photo:(c) Nigel Goddard

“I had a very, very good feeling about my horse today. The jump-offs were very long lines which suits my horse, so I went as fast as possible. When I came out I said, ‘I think that is quick enough’,” said Kevin.

“I can’t quite describe the feeling – I already feel very honoured to be here at Hickstead and to be in the [Nations Cup] team on Sunday. It’s incredible that my name is going to be on this trophy alongside these names and I’m part of that now.

“My parents are farmers and I’ve been riding ponies since I was six. About a year ago I moved to be based with Leon Thijssen, and I now have a couple of great horses and some great opportunities.”

Italy’s Massimo Grossato and Great Britain’s Amanda Derbyshire took second and third place respectively. Like Kevin, both riders were making their debut at this showground.

“This is his first five-star Grand Prix and I couldn’t be happier with him,” said Amanda. “The advice from Nick Skelton was go in to win it and I thought I was really fast but obviously I wasn’t!”

In the Bunn Leisure International Stakes, Great Britain’s Joe Clayton took the spoils on Carolus K DHI, keeping Ireland’s Trevor Breen and Noble Warrior in second place.

Carolus K DHI lives with his owner Jane Heerbeck, who lives about five minutes away from Joe’s new base in Melton Mowbray, and Joe only rides the horse at shows. “It was all down to the horse – I didn’t think I gave it the best ride, but he is naturally quick, and he gives you confidence because you know you can trust him to the fences. He loves that Arena – he loves big open spaces where he can run and jump.”

Britain’s William Funnell, who finished on just one time fault in the King’s Cup with his Al Shira’aa Derby winner Billy Buckingham, did secure a win in the Old Lodge International 7 & 8 Year Old qualifier with the seven-year-old Billy Kodak.

He has shared the ride with stable jockey Lucy Townley (nee Bunn), and describes the horse as “definitely one I’d like to keep”.

Kilkenny-based rider and show producer Louise Lyons won the Charles Owen Supreme Working Hunter Championship title with MJM Laszlo. The former event rider is no stranger to the big stage, having previously ridden at Badminton and Burghley, as well as the European Championships and Beijing Olympics.

In recent years, after having three children, she’s just got back into showing as her primary discipline. “It’s 22 years since I rode at Hickstead and I won last time back then – so it’s quite emotional,” said Louise.

In the Saracen Horse Feeds Supreme Riding Horse Championship, Oliver Hood won on Diamonds Are Forever. They have now qualified for Sunday’s BHS Supreme Horse Championship, the title the horse won 12 months ago with Oliver’s father Allister in the saddle.

The Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain at the BHS Royal International Horse Show takes place at the All England Jumping Course until Sunday 29 July, with tickets available online or at the gate.

Today’s feature classes are the BHS Queen Elizabeth II Cup and the British Speed Classic, which will be shown live on Sky Sports Action (red button) and FEI TV.

For tickets and more information, visit www.hickstead.co.uk

Record 14 teams in 2018 Ladies polo championship

A record fourteen teams entered the 2018 Hurlingham Polo 1875 British Ladies Polo Championships at Cowdray Park, writes Liz Higgins.

To cope with the high number of entries, the club set two handicap levels, The British Ladies Open Championship played at 18 goal handicap and The British Ladies Handicap Championship at 12 goal level. 

A very high standard of polo was seen throughout the tournaments, which ran through the final week of the King Power Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship, the ladies’ finals being played at the Lawns grounds on the same weekend as the men, in another first for Cowdray Park.

 In the Final of the 18 goal Championship, Dodson & Horrell with Jenny Doherty (1 goal) at number 1, Saffron Hutchinson (3 goals) at 2, Hannah Henderson (4 goals) at 3 and Nina Clarkin (10 goals) at Back, met Maitha Al Maktoum’s UAE Polo Team with Catalina Ayerza (1 goal) at number 2, Milly Sanchez (for Mia Cambiaso) at 3, and Candelaria Fernandez-Araujo (8 goals) at Back.

Both teams for the British Ladies Polo event at Cowdray Park pictured by Clive Bennett www.polopictures.co.uk

 Opening honours went to Nina Clarkin putting 1-0 on the scoreboard for Dodson & Horrell within the first minute of play.  An infringement then gave a penalty to Dodson & Horrell which Clarkin sent between the posts from 40 yards to make it 2-0, Fernandez-Araujo making a neat field goal before the chukka ended on 2-1 in favour of D & H. 

 In chukka 2, a good pass from Fernandez-Araujo enabled Milly Sanches to score for UAE and equalize on 2-2.  But the team gave away a spot penalty to Dodson & Horrell who then also profited from a 30 yard shot between the posts by Nina Clarkin and Dodson & Horrell were ahead 4-2 to close the chukka.

 After half time, fast free-flowing action continued through chukka 3 although UAE failed to score and Dodson & Horrell’s only goal came from a 40 yard penalty, making the score at the end of the chukka 5-2 in Dodson & Horrell’s favour.  

The fourth chukka opened with the ball coming in from the back line and UAE showing increased confidence and determination.  A super goal came from Catalina Ayerza.  UAE Polo Team won the ball from the throw-in with Milly Sanchez blazing away towards the Dodson & Horrell goal.  On she went without hindrance to score her second goal of the match and UAE had pulled up to within a goal of Dodson & Horrell. 

With no let-up in the pace, both sides continued to fight.  Clarkin sent a mighty shot forward from a free hit but the ball went out to the right.  In possession of the ball once more, she passed it forward, caught up and tried again, but again found the goal mouth elusive.  Desperately, Dodson & Horrell fought off any advance from UAE and finally held on to their lead to win the 18 goal  Hurlingham Polo 1875 British Ladies Championship on a score of 5-4.

 Simon Hawkins, CEO of Hurlingham Polo 1875, presented the handsome silver salver to Nina Clarkin, captain of the Dodson & Horrell team, and generous prizes of leisure wear to all players. 

The Best Playing Pony award went to Milly owned and ridden by Candelaria Fernandez-Araujo.  Aurora Esatwood presented the MVP prize of bespoke leather jodhpur boots from The Spanish Boot Company to Milly Sanchez of UAE Polo Team. A new prize for Horsemanship sponsored by Royal Salute and Husk was presented to Nina Clarkin by Aurora Eastwood. 

 In the 12 goal British Ladies Handicap Championship, Ibiza comprising Elicia Murphy at number 1, Angela Walker at 2, Rebecca Walters at 3 and Sarah Wiseman at Back met Aveda with Ann Marie Cavanagh playing at 1, Angela Robb at number 2, Lucy Coddington at 3 and Rosie Ross at Back.  Lucy Coddington (formerly Taylor) made the first mark on the scoreboard for Areda who finished the first chukka half a goal ahead. 

British Ladies Handicap Tournament both teams
Photo: Clive Bennett www.polopictures.co.uk

Thereafter Ibiza gained and retained the lead, finishing a lively match with no fouls blown ahead by 6-4½.  Simon Hawkins presented gifts from Hurlingham Polo 1875’s leisure range to all players and Rebecca Walters’ Baronessa was awarded the prize for Best Playing Pony. 

Sarah Wiseman was delighted to receive the Most Valuable Player award of bespoke leather jodhpur boots from The Spanish Boot Company presented by Aurora Eastwood.  Lucy Coddington (formerly Taylor) won the prize for Horsemanship also presented by Aurora Eastwood.

Paul Tapner’s Hickstead double

Australia’s Paul Tapner and Bonza King of Rouges did the double at Hickstead when claiming the MS Amlin Eventers’ Challenge for the second year in a row.

Drawn last to go, the reining champion was feeling both the heat and the pressure, after some of the eventing world’s leading stars clocked up fast rounds. Georgie Strang (GBR) was leading, having pipped Ireland’s Esib Power (the 2016 winner) by just 0.09sec, so Paul needed to deliver a fast clear to retain his title.

The 43-year-old did just that, shaving more than 4sec off the leading time to become the first back-to-back winner of the MS Amlin Eventers’ Challenge.

Paul Tapna and Bonza King of Rouges
Photo: Nigel Goddard

“I’ve had the last 12 months to prepare myself. I knew exactly how fast I went last year and I knew exactly how much faster I was going to go, and how many fewer strides or extra strides I was going to do between various fences. It was that calculated,” said Paul, who describes himself as a ‘semi-professional event rider’ who combines competing with his job for the Event Rider Masters series.

Asked how it felt to win at Hickstead for a second time, Paul said it was ‘great fun’. “I enjoy the crowds, so to win in an Arena like Hickstead is my cup of tea. I’m a bit laid back so the more pressure the better, and the more atmosphere the better.”
Paul paid credit to Bonza King Of Rouges co-owners, Jenny Walller (the owner of Paul’s Badminton winner Inonothing) and Angela Scott, who was originally responsible for bringing Paul to the UK from Australia.

Runner-up Georgie Strang produced a super round with Cooley Earl, who was having his second attempt at the class. “It felt amazing, I didn’t think I’d come second as there were some very quick rounds. I thought the only way I’d win it would be if Paul knocked one down.”

With twelve through to the jump-off, competition in The Bunn Leisure Trophy was fierce – but in the end it was Britain’s Robert Smith who took the title with Ilton.

“I knew they’d have to run to catch him. I kept everything very tight and he’s pretty quick across the ground,” said the Yorkshireman. “My aim for him is the King George. It’s a big ask but he’s got a chance.”

Guy Williams was the only rider to beat Robert for time with his horse Rouge De Ravel, but he lowered a rail to drop down the order, leaving Smith in the top spot.

Earlier this morning, Belgium’s Francois Mathy Jr won the Bunn Leisure Vase riding Falco Van De Clehoeve.

“He rarely doesn’t win a class at a show. He’s a real fighter,” he said. “I love coming to Hickstead; this show is like Wimbledon is for tennis.”

In the showing, the Walker family had a day to remember, when Robert won the Saracen Horse Feeds Supreme Hunter Championship with the lightweight victor View Point, while the heavyweight Patricks Choice took reserve with Robert’s wife Sarah in the saddle. Both horses are owned by Jill Day.

“He’s a class show horse – from day one when I broke him in you could just tell he had something a little bit special,” said Robert. “We’ve had some great times here. We won in the [Equi-Trek] Ring Five earlier today but he was twice the horse out there in the International Area – there’s something about the Hickstead main ring. They go out there and give their best.

“It’s not only great for us as a team, but it’s great for the owner and the girls who have had long days getting the horses all ready. These are the days that you thrive on. To win here it gives you a great buzz.”

The Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain at the BHS Royal International Horse Show takes place at the All England Jumping Course until Sunday 29 July, with tickets available online or at the gate. Tomorrow’s feature class is the €150,000 Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup, which will be shown live on Sky Sports and FEI TV.

Georgie Strutton wins at Hickstead

West Sussex based Georgie Strutton won The Champagne Cave Winter Grades B & C Championship with Khaled OL at Hickstead this week.

Six riders jumped clear in the first round, with West-Sussex based Georgie producing the fastest clear in the jump-off in a time of 49.82sec. It was enough to relegate Ireland’s Trevor Breen and Franklin I into second place, having finished 0.57sec slower.

“I know the horse very well, I’ve been riding him for just over a year now. He covers the ground really well and is very easy to turn,” said Georgie. “He has such a big canter and he feels great in the ring at Hickstead.”

In the SEIB Winter Novice Championship, it was Michaela Webb and Stellar Skylight who topped the leaderboard, having shaved nearly a second off Emma-Jo Slater’s time. “Going into the jump off I knew it was going to be a fast one as Emma-Jo is always quick, so I just went for it. Skylight might not be the fastest, but he is very brave,” she said.

The Northants-based rider trains with Tim Stockdale, and his advice for her was ‘Don’t go to Blackpool and back in the jump-off!’. “I haven’t jumped in the International Arena since 2010, and the first time I jumped at Hickstead I fell off so this is definitely an improvement,” she added.

Georgie Strutton and Khaled OL winning at Hickstead Photo copyright Sian Hayden

Earlier in the morning, Izabella Rogers and Whinney Lass won the Les Squibb Winter 128 cms Championship, having produced the only double clear; while in The Hooper Family Winter 138 cms Championship, Iwan Carpenter took the spoils with Follow Jazzy Lady.

Shaunie Greig and Teagan Arla Rose won The Oakley Coachbuilders Winter Grade JC Championship, the first class to take place in the International Arena.

A number of showing classes also reached their conclusion in the main ring at Hickstead. The Leeman Family Supreme Show Hunter Pony Championship went to Harriet Dennison and Merrycorner Mister Bui, while Libby Grota and Cadlanvalley Buzby took the title in the Ponies (UK) Young Riders Mountain & Moorland Championship and Luddington Maestro claimed the win in the Shapley’s Pure Bred Ridden Arabian Championship.

The Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain at the BHS Royal International Horse Show takes place at the All England Jumping Course until Sunday 29 July, with tickets available online or at the gate. Another highlight is the MS Amlin Eventers’ Challenge, in which top event riders Chris Burton, Gemma Tattersall, Nicola Wilson and last year’s champion Paul Tapner are all competing.

SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials