A tailless chestnut mare – whose rider needed convincing to take the reins – is spectacular RIHS 5* winner

  • Friday morning’s 1.45m Agria Royal International Stakes resulted in a whitewash win for 26-year-old German rider Richard Vogel with a relatively new ride, 14-year-old tailless mare Evermeta (Mr Blue x Nimmerdor). The winning combination looked superb, rocketing round the corners and covering the Hickstead turf with ease, but the rider initially needed persuading to take the reins on the speedy mare.

    “I’d like to say thank you to my horse – she’s a great fighter,” said Richard. “We’ve only been together for four or five months, but our partnership is going very well. Her owner, who I ride other horses for, always said we’d be a very good match and I doubted it a bit in the beginning, because I only saw videos of her. But he convinced me to give it a try. The first time I rode her I liked her very much because she’s such a fighter, with a great mind.”

    Explaining about her lack of a tail, Richard said: “She’s never had one, so we don’t know what happened to it – we left it at home!”

    A field of 40 lined up for the Agria International Stakes but from an early draw Richard set a target that outfoxed everyone else – second placed Matt Sampson was some 3sec adrift with Fabrice DN while Joe Stockdale took third on Equine Rescue Services Kandleford, a further second behind.

    “It’s our first time here at Hickstead and it’s a really special feeling, you can feel the tradition of the show,” said Richard, who qualified for this year’s World Cup Final and has sprung up the world rankings in recent years to now sit 24th. “Yesterday we were a bit overwhelmed but today was good.

    “Fences one and two came up a bit short, but then the rest of the course came up really well. She really wanted to go today so I left her to it in that rhythm. She’s generally a fast horse so we were lucky today. She doesn’t lose time anywhere, she’s not the most patient horse! But when she sees a fence, she’s like ‘Where’s the next one?’

    “This is her level – I don’t think she’ll be a 1.60m horse, but at that level she always tries her best. So hopefully she can get some more good results,” Richard concluded.

    The Royal International showjumping continues on Saturday, with the feature class, the Longines King George V Gold Cup on Sunday.

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