Mark Edwards’ dream for this year was to win an international grand prix and the Queen’s Cup — and he did both in one as he took today’s (25 July) title at the Royal International Horse Show on Montreuxs Tale.
In testing conditions and over Ben Townley’s challenging track, which caught out all but seven of the 47 starters, Mark and the scopey homebred 11-year-old flew to victory, finally banishing the memory of two years ago, when the fall of the last pole cost them the win in this class.
Mark survived a major rub to one pole — it bounced out of the cup but landed back in it — and saw beautiful long strides to the last two fences to cross the line nearly three seconds ahead of Kerry Brennan and Wellington M.
“It’s been a long two years!” he said. “It was my aim to win it last year and of course that didn’t happen, then last winter when we were freezing cold, we were talking about our aims for this year and mine were to win an international grand prix and the Queen’s Cup, and now I’ve done them both in one.”
Mark said the going in the international arena was good, adding: “As long as it’s not too soft, he doesn’t mind it – the ground is really good in there and it held up well in the rain, so he really enjoyed it. He’s used to jumping in grass rings and being Welsh, we’re used to the rain!
“Montreuxs has got so much scope; he tries that bit harder when you’re a bit far off a fence, and the more you dare him, the more he enjoys it. I knew I’d rubbed that pole; but I had a quick look back so I knew it was still standing.”
The huge grin on Mark’s face as he rode into the arena for the presentation belied what taking this title meant.
“There’s so many famous names on that trophy. Liz Edgar’s won it however many times, and she was a great friend over the years – unfortunately she’s not here any more, but being Welsh and going to Broomes and everything — the history of the trophy just adds to it,” he said. “That’s the first major title I’ve won.”
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