Saturday was Ladies’ Day at Hickstead and, appropriately, it was a female one-two-three in the big class of the day, the Queen Elizabeth II Cup. Traditionally, this was a competition reserved solely for lady riders until it was opened up to the gentlemen in 2008, but this prestigious event is still the one the girls are determined to win.
Class debutante Anna Edwards and the big-jumping Unique IX led the field to a superb victory. Tina Fletcher (Promised Land) and Tracy Priest (Calle) chased her home but simply couldn’t match her lightning-quick double clear, finishing in second and third place respectively, both picking up four faults in the jump-off.
“For the last few weeks, I’ve aimed for this,” said 26-year-old Somerset rider Anna Edwards, who was part of the winning Nations Cup team in Linz, Austria, in May. “It’s the biggest class I’ve won, but he [Unique] wants to win as much as I do.”
Unique IX is a nine-year-old by Heartbreaker who Anna has ridden for four years.
“To have the class open up [to men] and yet we still beat the boys makes it all the more special,” she said.
Earlier in the day, Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer won the Bunn Leisure Salver with Carlina IV while the Sky Sports speed classic went to France’s Julien Epaillard riding his speed specialist, Commissario.
Don’t miss next week’s Horse & Hound (out 5 August) for full report, comment and analysis.