The Netherlands’ Kevin Jochems had an early birthday present when winning today’s Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup at Hickstead.
This prestigious Grand Prix with a €150,000 prizefund was first held in 1911, and it remains a class that every top showjumper 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.
“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.
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 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
For full results, click here.