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French gallop to victory at Hickstead

Roger-Yves Bost and Ideal De La Loge galloped to victory in the Longines King George V Gold Cup at the Royal International, where they not only took the £10,000 first prize but also scored the first French win since 1949.

Only two riders could cope with all Kelvin Bywater’s questions in round one, but with a six-horse jump-off guaranteed, Roger-Yves and Germany’s Hermann Engemann on Aboyeur W were joined by William Funnell, who had one time-fault on Cortaflex Mondriaan, and four-faulters John Whitaker (Peppermill), Germany’s Thomas Voss (Leonardo B) and Sweden’s Peter Eriksson (VDL Cardento).

The top three positions stayed the same. William Funnell went for and achieved a good clear on Mondriaan, but Heinrich Engemann immediately overtook him with what looked a good time.

But Roger-Yves Bost has been a French team rider for more than 20 years and he brought all his experience into play on the awkward but scopey stallion Ideal De la Loge, who took first place by more than 3sec.

“The French team for the World Games has not been picked yet and I hope this performance will have impressed the selectors,” said Roger-Yves.

One of the saddest sights of the class was Nick Skelton trudging out of the ring after Arko slammed on the brakes and gave him a heavy fall at the fifth fence, the traditional double of gates. When interviewed for TV afterwards, Nick said that he no longer wishes to be considered for the World Games.

The Bunn Leisure Queen Elizabeth II Cup also went overseas, this time to 2004 winners Candice King and Lutopia. Jane Annett (Cullawn Diamond) and Jo Pay (Randi’s Gold) were the British interest in the jump-off and it was the former who ran the winners the closest, ending up in an honourable second place.

Jane, who is still recovering from the dislocated ankle she suffered at the Derby meeting, was still in pain and very lame.

“I tried to ride at Kent County a fortnight ago, then I had to have a week off. This is my first proper show since the accident and I’m hurting,” said the Kent-based rider.
“Lutopia’s my horse of a lifetime and owes me nothing, so I’m going to drop her down a grade in future,” said Molly Ashe, who will next travel to Dublin with the American team.

“It’s my birthday on Nations Cup day, so it would be a nice present if we could win,” she said.

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