Ireland’s David Simpson claimed the Templant Events Queen Elizabeth II Cup today at Hickstead.
Saturday’s feature class at the Longines Royal International Horse Show, the Queen’s Cup is only open to the highest-ranked national riders. Previously restricted to women only, it was opened up to both sexes in 2008 – and today, David became the fifth man to lift the historic trophy.
Five riders made it through to the jump-off in today’s renewal, with David the penultimate rider to go. Riding the 11-year-old grey mare Chessy 17, he posted a clear round in a time of 47.85sec to go ahead of Holly Smith and Lammy Beach. Last to go was the former Hickstead Derby winner Phillip Miller, who posted the fastest time of the day with 46.51sec, but four faults at the final fence cost them the win and relegated them to fourth place.
David is a Hickstead regular, having previously been based here with Breen Equestrian. He now lives locally, sharing a yard with fellow showjumper Louise Pavitt – the pair are getting married in two weeks’ time.
“I have to keep winning classes to pay for the wedding – it certainly keeps you hungry,” said David.
David had the ride on the mare for three months last year, but then sold her to the United States. “Due to other commitments, the owners have given her back to me to ride, but I presume I won’t be keeping her for long – I’d love to, but I don’t think it will be long before someone offers them a big price for her. She’s really cool – like a cross between a pony and a motorbike, but really strong with it. She hasn’t got all the jump and scope of some of the other horses, but she’s a fighter and she’ll take on anything.”
It was a good day for Ireland, with Billy Twomey scoring a valuable double of international wins today.
He won the Bunn Leisure Salver this morning with Diaghilev, before taking the British Speed Classic with Thomas. The in-form Irishman has now won three international classes at this year’s Longines Royal International Horse Show.
Seven riders made it through to the jump-off in the Bunn Leisure Salver, with five of these producing double clears. Such was Billy’s swiftness round the International Arena in the jump-off, he finished 1.49sec faster than the always speedy Guy Williams, who took second place.
“I didn’t think anyone had gone that fast, but I knew I had Guy to come after me, so I had to put a marker down,” said Billy.
In the Speed Classic, Billy made the most of being drawn last to go. He knocked British Olympic team member Ben Maher down to second place with a superbly judged round on Thomas, a nine-year-old bay gelding. The time difference was incredibly tight, with just one-hundredth of a second dividing Billy and Ben’s times.
Billy Twomey and Thomas had already won the Bunn Leisure Vase on Thursday, while he and Diaghilev formed part of Ireland’s second-placed team in yesterday’s Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup, presented by Longines.
In the showing classes, the Brereton Supreme Hack Championship went to Edward Young with Classic Chauvanist. ‘Charles’, as he is known in the stable, made his debut here at the Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby meeting last month, where he also stood champion. “He’s very straightforward – a real showman. I borrowed Rob Walker’s lucky suit today, so it must have worked!” Edward said.
The show concludes tomorrow with the €200,000 Longines King George V Gold Cup, which will be televised live on Sky Sports and streamed live on Hickstead.tv and the FEI’s YouTube channel.
Debbie’s dress impresses at Hickstead
Debbie Grogan was crowned the best-dressed lady at Hickstead today.
Debbie and her husband made the trip down to the Longines Royal International Horse Show from Shropshire this morning. “It’s like our Christmas coming to Hickstead, we come every year. I knew it was ladies’ day and I really wanted to make an effort this time.”
It paid off – Debbie was chosen as the overall winner by Olympic showjumper Ben Maher.
Debbie’s printed dress is from Chi Chi and her hat was made by Sharper Millinery. “I love the 1950s style and the Dior look, so my gloves and bag are vintage. My shoes are by Roland Cartier.”
As the winner, she receives a magnum of Bollinger Champagne, as well as a two-night stay in a five-star suite at the Alexander House Hotel & Utopia Spa. The winner also receives dinner for two, afternoon tea and spa treatments at the hotel.
Debbie plans to take her husband with her for their wedding anniversary at the end of the month.
The runner-up was Charlotte Halls, who won a luxurious overnight stay at Ockenden Manor Hotel & Spa, with dinner for two and two spa treatments. Our third-placed lady, Kathy Stokes, won an eight-course meal at the Michelin-starred Pass Restaurant at South Lodge Hotel. All 10 finalists received a bunch of flowers from Cottage Flowers in Cuckfield.