Germany’s David Will was victorious in the Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup on the final day of the Longines Royal International Horse Show (28 July).
Riding the nine-year-old gelding Never Walk Alone, the 31-year-old stopped the clock in a time of 43.73 seconds.
However there was a late change to the placings — locally-based Irish rider Michael Duffy and Mullaghrin Touch The Stars posted the second fastest time to cheers from the Hickstead crowd. But as the competitors prepared for the presentation, news filtered back that Michael had been eliminated under the blood rule.
This meant he dropped to fifth, with Sweden’s Peder Fredricson (Zacramento) and Fredrik Jonsson (Cold Play) moving up to take second and third respectively.
David said this was “definitely” one of his biggest wins.
“We were just talking about how there are really big footsteps to follow here, so it is very special to be on the trophy,” said David, adding he “couldn’t be happier”.
“This is only our fourth show together. I competed in Poland last weekend, where he won the grand prix, and I didn’t plan him for the grand prix here.”
He explained the horse he had originally planned to ride had a slight temperature earlier in the week, so he decided to see if Never Walk Alone would step up to the mark.
“It turned out to be great,” said David. “I thought he jumped both rounds exceptionally well. It is a very special ring and a horse has to really be brave to try his best — the water is spooky as is the double of Liverpools (rail over ditches), so I’m very pleased with how he went.”
Ground jury president Jon Doney told the press conference that ground jury felt there was “absolutely no intention” from Michael to harm his horse.
“Sadly there was blood on the flank and that is automatic elimination,” he added.
This comes under article 241.3.30 of the FEI jumping rules.
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Paul Connor’s testing course resulted in five clears going forwards to the jump-off. Such was the quality of the international field that no combinations added a single fault to their clean sheets, meaning the final result came down to time.
Olympic individual and team silver medallist Peder Fredricson was first to go against the clock, completing the course in a time of 45.28 with his Hickstead Nations Cup-winning ride.
Team-mate Fredrick Jonsson was slightly wider on the turns to stop the clock just behind in a time of 48.28.
Best of the Brits went to sixth placed Guy Williams and Rouge De Ravel, who were unlucky to miss out on a jump-off spot as they clipped a rail at the double of ditches at 11a.
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