Fake bosoms, a ‘Portugeese’ and a hobby-horse lap of honour: the madly brilliant London fancy dress returns

  • Dick Whittington and his cat triumphed in a speedy showjumping class at the London International Horse Show this evening, beating stiff competition from the Ugly Sisters, Cinderella and Prince Charming.

    In the return of the legendary fancy dress class, Dick aka Harry Charles, and “Cat Sampson”, may or may not have jumped the pairs relay faster than anyone else. The rules started simple – fastest time, with two seconds added per pole down – but then marks out of 10 from each of the three judges, Pippa Funnell, Rory Bremner and Father Christmas himself, were deducted from the total time.

    The crowd cheered as Cinderella (a heavily made up Joe Stockdale in a floaty blue number) and her Prince Charming Jodie Hall McAteer were followed by Ugly Sisters John and Robert Whitaker, both sporting huge fetching pink wigs and Robert’s dress featuring a pair of hands clasping his bosom.

    Having jumped, Robert returned to the judges’ table, stole the paddle they would have used to grant a 10 and galloped round the arena brandishing it, but the judges were not for turning.

    “It didn’t take long to get me looking like an Ugly Sister,” quipped John.

    Gemma Stevens as Captain Hook sported some luxurious moustachios, Portuguese rider Duarte Seabra as Mother Goose (“He’s a Portugeese!” Pippa corrected) may have had no idea about the character he was portraying but took on the challenge with alacrity and Tim Gredley sparked calls of a fix when he lost his stirrup just as Blame it on the Boogie reached the line “I just can’t control my feet”.

    Then as Matt and Harry were due to come in as last pair, their competitors, also including eventers Austin O’Connor, Laura Collett, Shane Breen, Lily Attwood and Shane Breen, stormed the arena, putting jumps up and running riot, one Ugly Sister falling on her face when chased by Dick Whittington’s cat.

    But Harry and Matt rose to the occasion and were declared victors, setting straight off on an impromptu lap of honour to the cheering crowd’s delight.

    “I’ve had a rough week so to end the show on a high like this with my good mate – you don’t get this at any other show in the world,” Harry said, as all the riders returned for a prizegiving mounted only on hobby horses. “It’s so nice to have a bit of fun and thank you to the crowd. This is the best show in the world.”

    Matt agreed: “This is just amazing. Everybody loves it, it brings everybody together – and we got the chance to beat some of the best eventers in the world and show them they need to practise their showjumping! Thank you everyone for coming; it’s the best show in the world, and the best crowd in the world.”

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