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Royal International champions crowned by sunshine

Charles Le Moignan and Paul Mortimer’s Cheshire County champion Becconsall Pick Pocket claimed the first showing title of the day at the Royal International Horse Show in the hack sections.

An eight-year-old by Pocketed out of Becconsall Reflections, the brown gelding stayed top of his large class, and went on to take the tricolour in the international arena. Standing reserve, were the winners of the small hack class, Mathew Lawrence and Sandhills Scallywag.

Giving a true gallop to top an enormous class of small hunters, were Jack Cochrane riding Sir Willam John. Owned by Victoria Clayton, this Irish bred nine-year-old grey gelding also successfully competes in intermediate classes, and he will be out again with his owner tomorrow (Sunday). “He does give the most lovely ride, and he enjoyed every minute of his breeze around the international arena,” said Jack.

There was much interest in the maxi cob class, and first winners of Hickstead’s inaugural championship class were Natalie Reynolds riding Kim Chapman’s seven-year-old Dylan Thomas. “I was very impressed. Quality went right down the line, and I had some great rides,” said ride judge Nigel Oliver.

Quality, and quantity was also in abundance in the Pretty Polly (home-produced) sections. The champion came from the mixed height show pony class, Karen Gillott’s Kingsford Sweet Story standing top of the line, and going on to take the tricolour for Georgia Renshaw-Smith, 12. “That was amazing,” exclaimed Georgia, after her lengthy lap of honour in the main arena. Claiming the reserve, was nine-year-old Ellie Blythe riding Mompesson Late Night Party.

Maintaining their 100% strike rate in the Betty Skelton Memorial Ladies classical side-saddle championship were Georgina Andrews and Overdrive. The pair have been winners every year since the competition was introduced three years ago. “He always rises to the occasion, and winning at Hickstead is very special,” said Georgina.

Wendy Edgar’s M H Apollo claimed the miniature horse championship. A previous winner and champion here, the nine-year-old stallon was bought in 2002, and he successfully combines showing with stud duties. The family were given double cause for celebration, when Wilderness Carmen took the anglo and part bred arab championship for Louise Edgar.

Pick up Thursday’s Horse & Hound (30 July) for our special 13-page report on all the action from the RIHS

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