GARY Parsonage reclaimed the title he first won nine years ago when he piloted Peter Street to victory in the Ford Ranger Eventing Grand Prix.
Drawn sixth to go out of a field of 23, Gary had his foot flat to the board from start to finish around Hickstead’s revamped 27-fence course and the pair stopped the clock in a time of 205.20sec, having jumped an immaculate clear.
Gary, who won this class with Just So II in 1999, admitted that he had high expectations of Peter Street.
“He’s an advanced eventer and a Grade A show jumper, so this class was designed for him,” said Gary. “He won Burgie CCI** four years ago, but gave himself – and me – a few frights eventing at the higher levels, so we decided to change jobs.”
Last year’s winners, Emilie Chandler and Kellymoss, came within a whisker of a second victory, finishing on 207.47. Drawn last to go, the pair recorded one of three clear jumping rounds of the competition — the third came from 11th placed show jumper Steven Franks and Royal Crown.
Matthew Wright and Caunton Welldone occupied third spot for the second year running. Theirs was one of the most exhilarating rounds of the afternoon, but two rails down across the country prevented them from topping the leaderboard.
Shane Breen was the highest placed of the show jumpers, finishing fourth with the stallion Royal Concorde, whose nosedive into the Martin Collins Ford at fence 10 marred an otherwise brilliant round.
This unique competition always sees a few dramas and this year was no exception. New Zealand’s Hong Kong-bound Joe Meyer was eliminated when his ride, Black Andy, jumped the wrong way down the Derby Bank, taking most of the newly laid turf with him, and Lucy Wiegersma performed a spectacular somersault when her ride Loustic De Lechenau (who events under the name of French Leave), stumbled up the Ford Ranger Bank at fence 21, stopped and ejected his jockey on top.
1, Peter Street (Gary Parsonage), 205.20; 2, Kellymoss (Emilie Chandler), 207.47; 3, Caunton Welldone (Matthew Wright), 212.43; 4, Royal Concorde (Shane Breen), 213.72; 5, Drunken Disorderly (Mark Kyle), 220.45; 6, Song For Gull (Georgie Spence), 222.44.
Keep in touch with all the news from Hickstead on Horseandhound.co.uk plus see next week’s issue of Horse & Hound for full reports on all the action, plus fantastic photographs