Olympic gold medallist Laura Kraut took the main class at Hickstead, winning the Champagne Cave Winter Grades B & C Championship with Greatfull.
It was a second win in the Longines International Arena for the eight-year-old grey mare, who claimed the Old Lodge International 7&8 Year Old Championship here 12 months ago.
The pair came out on top of the 11-strong jump-off against the clock, making the most of a late draw to shave more than 1sec off the leading time set by eventual runner-up Jake Saywell (Lukas Van De Kievitsdrisen).
Greatfull is owner by Margaret Duprey of Cherry Knole Farm, who also owns Laura’s former Olympic horse Cedric.
“Today she was actually better than last year, which is always good to know, that she’s grown up a little bit in the year. Maybe next year she’ll get to jump in the five-star,” said Laura.
“When you ride a horse like that, it is easy. She doesn’t want to knock the poles down and she’s fast. She really loves it out on that arena – you never know how they’ll cope in a ring like that.”
As well as being part of the USA squad for Friday’s Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup leg, Laura also has an important competition coming up at Hickstead – she’ll be racing in the #10forTim charity run, held on Saturday night.
Laura wasn’t the only rider to make a winning return to the Longines Royal International, with Izabella Rogers winning the Equestrizone Winter 128cm Championship on Whinney Lass, and Shaunie Greig taking the Oakley Coachbuilders Winter Grade JC Championship on Teagan Arla Rose, both for the second year in a row.
Tabitha Kyle, fresh from winning a team bronze medal in the Children on Horses European Championships, also had a winning day at Hickstead when claiming the Hooper Family Winter 138cm Championship with Playboy van de Zoetewi.
Harry Bateman took an early victory in the Longines International Arena, winning the SEIB Winter Novice Championship with Lex Lokoda.
Several showing championships took place at Hickstead, with the Shapley’s Pure Bred Ridden Arabian Championship going to Clare Fitch and Mirv for the second year in a row.
Annabel Drake and Tyan Ma’Lady won the Ponies (UK) Young Riders M & M Championship, while Morgan Ross and Carnsdale Cover Story took centre stage in the Leeman Family Supreme Show Hunter Pony Championship.
The international classes begin with the Bunn Leisure Vase and the Bunn Leisure Trophy, while the feature class of the day is the MS Amlin Eventers’ Challenge. Tickets are available online from www.hickstead.co.uk or at the gate, and the action will also be streamed live on ClipMyHorse.TV and Hickstead.TV.