The best was saved until last in this year’s Ford Ranger Eventing Grand Prix at the Royal International Horse Show when Australian eventer Lucinda Fredericks produced a fantastic round on the 11-year-old mare Headley Britannia.
Despite a run-out on the cross-country stage, Chris Bartle led to this stage on his marvellous veteran, the former Badminton winner Word Perfect II. But Lucinda kept her foot on the floor all the way and crossed the finish almost 6sec ahead.
“This is what I’ve been aiming for all year. I wanted to come to Hickstead more than go to the Olympics,” said a delighted Lucinda, who finished second in the class in 1999.
Athens-bound Sarah Cutteridge finished third on Erbium, ahead of Nicky Boulter, the best of the show jumpers with Magna Carta.
Robert Whitaker, who earlier took the young riders title on Nicolette, produced by far the fastest time on Sir Dino, the horse ridden to victory last year by his uncle, Michael. But six fences got in the way en route, to leave a rueful Robert in fifth place.
Pippa Funnell was unable to add to her record in this class on Viceroy, but her husband William increased the family coffers by riding Cortaflex Machiavelli to victory over a huge field in the Coyle Hamilton international two-phase.
The opening international class, the Brighton Speed, went to another locally based British rider when Guy Williams rode a flying round from an early draw on Adele Guidford’s Be Precise.