Gary Parsonage scored a last-minute victory for the eventers in the Quantum Saddle eventing grand prix at Hickstead this afternoon.
Gary was last to go on his winner from last year, Peter Street (pictured), and as he entered the arena show jumpers — normally the underdogs in this class — held a one-two-three, with Irish brothers Shane and Trevor Breen leading Nicole Pavitt.
But Gary stormed round on the chestnut eventer-turned-show jumper and finished on a time of 200.71, including 10sec to add for two fences down. This put him just ahead of Shane on Dorada (203.25) and Trevor on Adventure De Kannan (205.66).
“I didn’t have a plan — just to go as fast as I could,” said Gary. “I know these two [the Breens] can go quick and hats off to Nicole Pavitt for setting everybody up by going fast in the middle of the class.”
Eventual runner-up Shane, the 2006 winner on Mullaghdrin Gold Rain, said: “My plan was to go as quick as I could and try to jump clear, but unfortunately I had a fence down. I knew watching Gary I was in trouble — his was a fantastic round.”
Third-placed Trevor’s ride, Adventure De Kannan, evented with his owner Karen Swan before turning to show jumping, which was why Trevor first decided to try him in this class last year, when he was too slow for the honours. This year the pair put in the fastest round, but 15sec to add for three fences down kept them out of the top spot.
Long-term leader Nicole Pavitt finished up fourth on Blake.
Gary Parsonage now equals Pippa Funnell’s record of three wins in this class — as well as last year’s victory, he took the eventing grand prix in 1999 on Just So II.
Don’t forget to buy next week’s Horse & Hound (30 July) for a 13-page report from the Royal International Horse Show, including the eventing grand prix.
1. Gary Parsonage on Peter Street (200.71)
2. Shane Breen on Dorada (203.25)
3. Trevor Breen on Adventure De Kannan (205.66)
4. Nicole Pavitt on Blake (208.29)
5. Oliver Townend on Neo Du Breuil (210.57)
6. Lucinda Fredericks On Headley Britannia (217.2)
7. Tina Cook on First Flight II (217.54)
8. Dan Jocelyn on Special Advocate (221.23)
9. Emilie Chandler on Kellymoss (221.5)
10. Francis Whittington on Meantime Liatos (223.56)