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America score historic double at Hickstead

Visit www.saddletude.com for virtual coverage of the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead, in association with Horse & Hound Online.

Queen Elizabeth II Cup

America took the Queen Elizabeth II Cup, one of the world’s most famous classes for lady riders, for the first time in 31 years when Florida-based Candice King jumped the onlydouble clear on her stallion Elu De La Hardiere.

Candice, a regular member of the American Nations Cup team, who was well-placed in this year’s World Cup final on another stallion, John Em, has not competed as regularly since having her daughter,now aged two.

But she produced a lovely performance on the nine-year-old chesnut, whom she usually competes in speed classes, and they never looked like touching a fence.

Bob Ellis’s course was up to height and only three could cope with all the questions. They were joined in the jump-off by the fastest four-faulters, Surrey’s Vicky Gosling and her Hickstead specialist, the chesnut stallion Malacoff.

This pair was foot-perfect second time around and Vicky moved up the order to the runner-up spot when Jane Annett’s consistent mare Pipakie lowered three fences and Dutch rider Angelique Hoorn hit two on Pascal.

Candice King has been competing on the US team tour of Europe and was paying her second visit to Hickstead after competing here at the age of 21, 10 years ago.

She was particularly delighted with Elu, saying: That was his first major grand prix win, but I may try him in some bigger classes here as John Em had a pricked foot after he was shod and was lame afterthe second round of the Nations Cup here.”

Vicky Gosling was also pleased with the performance of Malacoff, her only grade A, who is a real Hickstead specialist, having finished fifth in this class last year and fifth in the past two Derbys.

“He should have jumped a double clear and it was my fault he didn’t,” she said. “I was thinking about my stride into the following fence and had a real ‘blonde moment’!”

Refco King George V Gold Cup

America scored an unprecedented double when former Olympic medallist Norman Dello Joio produced the round of the show to take the Refco King George V Gold Cup, the major class at this year’s Royal International Horse Show.

In a seven-horse jump-off over a course described bythe winner as one of the toughest he had ever tackled, 45-year-old Norman’s ride, the Dutch-bred Glasgow, jumped the sole double clear from final draw to relegate German star Heinrich Johannsmann’s flying four-faulter on the lovely stallion Gralshuter.

The British riders had made the home crowd wait right until the end of the first round until Mark Armstrong got through to the jump-off with a great clear on his little mare Elise, but two fences down dropped this pair into sixth place.

The 10-year-old Glasgow, a son of Emillion, was America’s leading money winner last year after accumulating $400,000, but he has only recently returned after a six-month break. And, frustratingly, he was produced in Britain, as he was owned by Scotland’s Holly McGowan and competed in both the Wembley newcomers and Horse & Hound Foxhunter finals as a youngster.

It was after the horse, who was then known as Jamaica Jackpot, competed at HOYS that Robert Smith, a long-time friend, contacted Norman and arranged the chesnut’s sale.

“He’s a great all-rounder. He may not be the best in the world in any one department, but he’s so good at everything and such a trier that I know he’ll do whatever I ask,” said Norman, who, like the Queen’s Cupwinner Candice King, lives in Wellington, Florida.

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