David Will lifted the Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup today at Hickstead, becoming the first German rider to win the trophy since Holger Wulschner in 2008.
Will, 31, was aiming to ride one of his other international horses in today’s Grand Prix, but ended up having to change plans and compete his new ride, the nine-year-old Holsteiner Never Walk Alone, instead – a decision that certainly paid off when he finished top of a five-strong jump-off.
“It’s actually only our fourth show together, we did one show in Poland two weeks ago and won the Grand Prix there,” said David. “The horse I’d planned to ride was a little bit sick and had a bit of a temperature on the first day. She’s recovered, but we thought it would be better not to jump her, so we thought we’d give it a shot with Never Walk Alone and it turned out to be great! I thought he jumped both rounds exceptionally good. He was really, really fighting.”
The Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup is one of the most coveted Grands Prix in the world. First held held in 1911, it has since been won by many of the sport’s biggest names.
“It’s something very special to be on the trophy forever. I couldn’t be happier. As we know, it’s a very special arena – a horse has to really be brave and try his best, and mine couldn’t have been better.”
Asked if he was a Liverpool fan, given his winning horse’s name, he said: “I’m certainly a Liverpool fan now! They have a German manager in Jurgen Klopp, so now we’re following them a bit more in Germany too.”
Olympic silver medallist Peder Fredricson (SWE) was first to ride against the clock, setting a time of 45.28sec with Zacramento, before David shaved more than a second off his time to take the lead.
“Of course I’d like to have my name on the trophy, but we had a great week and I’m really happy with how my horse jumped,” said Peder, who was part of Friday’s winning Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ team but had to settle for the runner-up spot today.
Swedish rider Fredrik Jonsson (Cold Play) and Brazil’s Luiz de Azevedo Filho (Chachito) both produced double clears but neither could catch David’s time.
Ireland’s Michael Duffy came closest after finishing in the second fastest time on Mullaghdrin Touch The Stars, but unfortunately he was later eliminated under FEI blood rules, and dropped to fifth place.
No British rider has won the Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup since Ben Maher in 2013, and today none of the home contenders made it through to the jump-off. Guy Williams (Rouge De Ravel) and Amy Inglis (Wishes) came closest, with just four faults apiece.
Shortly before the King George, Tripple X III – the horse who took Britain’s Ben Maher to Olympic team gold at London 2012 – was officially retired. The last time Ben rode Tripple X III was in 2013 when he won the Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup here, and today the crowd gave the horse a standing ovation as he returned to the scene of one of his biggest wins.
Tiffany Foster, who has competed the horse at the top level for the past six years, was also there to say farewell to the 17-year-old black stallion. Tripple X III was ridden into the arena by Ben, before the horse’s saddle was removed and he was led out of the arena by Tiffany.
This morning, young talents were on show in the Old Lodge International 7&8 Year Old Championship, with the spoils going to Brazil’s Thiago Ribas Da Costa
His win came courtesy of seven-year-old Mano Negra Van De Bucxtale, who often saves his best for last. “He always jumps his best on the last day, and he’s got some really good results,” says Thiago, who has been based in the Netherlands for the last four years and was making his first ever visit to Hickstead. To compete at the home of British showjumping, and even better to win here, was the realisation of a longheld ambition. “It’s unbelievable – it was my dream, one day, to be here,” added the emotional rider.
The Longines Royal International Horse Show finished today, bringing six days of competition to a close. The next fixture to take place at Hickstead is the Hurst College National Schools and Pony Club Jumping Championships (Thursday 1 August), followed by the Science Supplements All England Jumping Championships (29 August to 1 September). Admission to both events is free to spectators.
For full results from this show, visit here.
Ireland’s David Simpson reclaimed the Science Supplements BHS Queen Elizabeth II Cup on Ladies Day yesterday.
His first win in the class came in 2016 on Chessy 17, and this time it was Gentleman VH Veldof who carried David to victory, despite the disadvantage of an early draw.
Having netted the first clear of the competition, David was first to go against the clock in the second round. He set a tough time of 41.05 to put pressure on the others, and while Mark Edwards was able to go quicker, a fence down dropped him to fourth place.
Helen Tredwell (Larksong) took second, with Will Fletcher – whose mother Tina won the Queen Elizabeth II Cup three times – taking third place on Persimmon.
For Irishman David, the All England Jumping Course is a home from home – he is based nearby in West Sussex, and was formerly a stable jockey for Hickstead’s Shane Breen. He has only had the ride on Gentleman VH Veldof for a few weeks.
“He landed on the Monday before the Al Shira’aa Derby show in June, so that was our first show with him. I really, really like him. For such a short period together, we seem to have clicked quite well,” he says. “All the girls absolutely love him, so he must be a bit of a gentleman! For me, he’s absolutely lovely to work with. Michael Whitaker rode him before me, so I went back and watched a couple of videos of him riding him. Obviously I can’t copy him, but it gave me some ideas!”
Ellen Whittaker claims BEMER Speed Classic
Ellen Whitaker made a welcome return to winning in the Longines International Arena when she claimed the top spot in the BEMER Speed Classic. Her time of 59.80sec put her clear of a stellar line-up of German stars, including runner-up Marcus Ehning, David Will in third and Michael Jung in fourth.
Whitaker’s winning ride was Diola, who is the daughter of Locarno – the horse who took Ellen to second place in her first ever Hickstead Derby when she was just 18 years old.
“It’s always nice to be in first place in the international arena at Hickstead – it just happens to have been a while since my last one!” said Ellen. “But it’s a lovely win for a few reasons – one, because it’s been a tricky route back, two, because she’s a homebred mare, and three, because her half-bred sister Lavano won it with my brother Joe two years ago. Both are by Locarno, who loved that arena and his offspring also do.”
Ellen had a lot of success as a young rider and made a successful switch to senior competition, but she has had a bit of time out from competing at the highest level after having her two sons. Now she is back at the top, having been longlisted for the European championships, and her win at Hickstead today proves she’s on great form. “It’s nice to go into a class like that with a fighting chance and feel like myself again – to feel at home,” added Ellen.
In the showing classes, profilic producer Jayne Ross claimed another title when lifting the Brereton Supreme Hack Championship with Forgeland Hyde Park, while Greer Taverner and The Politician got the judge’s vote in the David Stennett Ltd Small Hunter.
Nurse Charlotte Leonard and Nicky Nelson’s prolific miniature mare Karosel Alamo’s Perdita finally claimed the BMHS Supreme Miniature Horse Championship, after coming so close on a number of occasions.
“I’m ecstatic – it’s something we’ve tried so hard to get, and we’ve been reserve champions three times,” said Charlotte.
George V Gold Cup
Today, the Longines Royal International Horse Show draws to a close, culminating in the prestigious Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup. The last British rider to win this Grand Prix class was Ben Maher in 2013, and his winning ride that year – his Olympic 2012 horse Tripple X III – will be retired shortly before this year’s class.
The event will be shown live on Sky Sports, while tickets are available at the gate or online from www.hickstead.co.uk.