Ireland’s Billy Twomey crowned a fantastic week at the Longines Royal International Horse Show, claiming first prize in the €200,000 Longines King George V Gold Cup.
It was an enthralling renewal of the historic class, with 48 of the world’s top riders coming forward to do battle for the feature Grand Prix class of the show.
A total of 13 riders went clear over Kelvin Bywater’s track in the first round, including British hopes Anna Power and Tim Stockdale. The second to go in the jump-off, Katherine Dinan of the USA, produced the first double clear in 44.38sec. Anna Power and Blazer B, fifth to go, were the next to jump clear, but they couldn’t catch Katherine.
Tim Stockdale and Fleur de L’Aube then took the lead, knocking more than 2sec off the leading time, but a few horses later, Tim’s dream of winning a second King George ended when Ireland’s Bertram Allen (Molly Malone V) shaved a quarter of a second off Stockdale’s time.
Hickstead-based Shane Breen produced by far the swiftest time of the competition with the aptly named Golden Hawk, but four faults cost the Irishman the win.
The Netherlands’ Wout-Jan Van Der Schans took the lead from Bertram, with a storming round by the USA’s Lillie Keenan seeing her slot in behind Wout-Jan on the leaderboard.
But Billy Twomey has been the man to beat all week here at Hickstead, having already netted three international wins – the Bunn Leisure Salver with Diaghilev, plus the British Speed Classic and the Bunn Leisure Vase with Thomas. Making the most of being the last drawn, he powered round with Lizziemary to shave almost half a second off the leading time.
It was the chestnut mare’s first time competing in the International Arena at Hickstead, and what a debut she made. “Ordinarily horses need to know that arena, but she’s really brave and has a big rangy gallop that covers the ground, so it suits her,” said Billy.
The mare was originally produced by British rider Emma-Jo Slater. “She has done an unbelievable job and deserves credit,” Twomey added. “I was following the mare as a young horse and have a good relationship with her former owner Kim Barzilay – she gave me the horse on sale or return last October so I’m very grateful to her. She’s got another good horse in the yard at the moment so hopefully she’ll think of me!
“I’m just delighted how this mare performed – I’ve always felt she’s been knocking on the door, but not quite delivered. I’m very proud that she’s managed to win one of the most prestigious classes in the world. I had a good show in Dublin last week, where I was the leading rider – there is a lot to be said for when you’ve got your tail up and are full of confidence.”
Earlier today, Yazmin Pinchen scored her first international win at Hickstead in the Royal International Accumulator, riding the 13-year-old gelding Van De Vivaldi.
“He jumped so well yesterday, I knew I could trust him and let him go a bit,” said Yazmin, 23. “When jumping bigger tracks I can be a bit nervous to really go against the clock, but here I thought I’d press on and go for it – though I did think I’d be beaten.”
“This will be my last five-star show as I’m 13 weeks pregnant, so I’ll stop riding soon. I’ve actually had three wins since I found out!”
Yazmin plans to start riding again as soon as possible after the birth, and her horses are going to be turned away during her maternity leave.
While the international season at Hickstead is over for another year, the competitions continue at Hickstead with the Hurstpierpoint College National Schools and Pony Club Jumping Championships this Thursday (4 August) and the All England Jumping Championships later this year (1-4 September).
For full results from the Longines Royal International Horse Show, click here.
Jayne reigns supreme again at Hickstead
Jayne Ross defended her title today in the British Horse Society Supreme Ridden Horse Championship, riding the prolific hunter mare Time 2 Reflect.
“I felt more pressure this year, but ‘Betty’ loves the people and loves the atmosphere,” said Jayne.
She gained just one more mark than runner-up Allister Hood with cob champion Our Cashel Blue, with Jayne scoring a total of 27 out of a possible 30. “For the first time in my life I’d been able to add up, so I knew I’d won!” she added.
The Underwood Supreme Ridden Pony Championship went to Olivia Bowen with Golden Tasset. Olivia has been gaining work experience with Jayne Ross this year, but Jayne insisted she had no influence on Olivia’s show today. “Olivia’s pretty clued up!” Jayne said.
Golden Tasset qualified for the Supreme by winning the Jackson Fine Homes (Cornwall) Ltd RIHS Supreme Intermediate Championship. Rider Olivia described him as “the easiest horse ever”. “The gallop is his favourite part, so we just went hunting style in the ring,” she said.
Earlier today, Phoebe Price and Litton Enterprise took the Oggy Oggy Pasty Company BSPS Supreme Show Pony Championship. Fourteen-year-old Phoebe began showing with producer Julie Templeton two years ago.
“It was Phoebe’s first time riding in the International Arena last year, and she said if she ever goes in there again, she’s got to go for it and not be nervous,” said Julie.
The arena clearly suited the 148cm winner, who is known at home as ‘Edward’. “He can get a bit bored at home, but with an atmosphere like this he lights up,” Julie added.