American rider Molly Ashe-Cawley proved the one to beat in the first international show jumping class of the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead earlier today.

A clear round in the jump off, in a time of 41.57sec, secured Molly a narrow victory in the Irish Horse Board International Chase on Cocu. Molly beat Sweden’s Peter Eriksson riding Jaguar Mail, who was just 0.41sec behind. Third place also went to Sweden, as Loota Schultz brought Calibra II home clear in 42.21sec.

Molly is three-and-a-half months pregnant and after the win said: “I have been told that I ride better when I have two riders in the saddle, rather than one”.

British riders were out of the money as the visitors took all of the top 12 placings. The highest placed Brit in 14th place was Michael Whitaker with Suncal Portofino 63, who produced a steady double clear. Ellen Whitaker, Mark Armstrong, Robert Bevis and Ben Maher all picked up four faults in the jump off to finish down the order.

In the Old Lodge British Young Riders Championship, the Pavitt sisters were victorious. Louise triumphed on Little Miss II, ahead of Nicole riding Maestro De Rend Peine. Tim Gredley and Sjarmette were beaten into third by just 0.11sec. Nicole also picked up sixth place with the fastest four-fault round on Amarlyllis van de Heffink.

The draw for tomorrow’s Samsung Super League sees Britain second to go. America, who are currently last in the league standings, will kick off proceedings, while leaders Germany are the penultimate team to ride. The British team will be Nick Skelton riding Russel, Ellen Whitaker with Locarno, William Funnell on Cortaflex Mondriaan and Michael Whitaker with Suncal Portofino 63.

Report from the Land Rover Eventing Grand Prix coming shortly