Holger Wulschner continued Germany’s excellent run at Hickstead by claiming the richest ever running of the Longines King George V Gold Cup with Clausen.
Six got through to the jump-off and 44-year-old Wulschner, third to go, rode a deft and feisty round on the tail-swishing Holsteiner which no-one could touch.
Pieter Devos, 23, and Equipharma Tekila D were runners-up for Belgium, with Geoff Billington third for Britain on Rosinus, willed around the jump-off by a delirious home crowd. Ben Maher was fastest four-faulter, fourth on Robin Hood.
This is by far Clausen’s career best, though last month he signalled his major league potential by winning the Grand Prix at the three-star CSI in Norten-Hardenberg and then jumping a double clear in Aachen. After that, Clausen’s owner Siegfried Kludt was besieged with offers for the horse.
“So he decided to see them off by offering me half the horse for one Euro, and selling the other half to his two-year-old daughter for the same amount,” said Holger. “I gave him 10 Euros and told him to keep the change ‐ this is the bargain of my life.”
Hopes of a first-ever lady winner at this newly unisexed Royal International Horse Show staple were high, for Nicole Shahinian-Simpson on SRF Dragonfly (USA) and Helena Lundback on Bukowskis Conan (Sweden) jumped faultlessly as the 42-starter first round drew to a close. But in trying to close on Clausen, both flattened the gate early on in the jump-off course.
Notable casualties in the first round included 2006 winners, Roger-Yves Bost and Ideal de la Loge, among many to fall foul of the treble combination, and William Funnell on Cortaflex Mondriaan, who jumped clear but with one time-fault. It was a weekend of so near yet so far for Mondriaan, for in Saturday’s Longines Classic his rider lost his way in the two-horse jump-off, prompting elimination.
Don’t miss H&H’s full report on all the jumping action from the Royal International Horse Show, on sale Thursday 31 July, ’08