Britain’s Tina Fletcher held off challenges from America and Sweden to bring the Queen Elizabeth II Cup back to Britain at the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead today.
Faults were evenly spread in the first round with just four riders going clear, including the winner of the class for the past two years, Molly Ashe-Cawley riding Lutopia.
One of the pre-class favourites, America’s Beezie Madden, parted company with Judgement when the horse banked the final fence. A number of other riders faulted at the water after their horses hung towards the collecting ring.
Tina Fletcher was drawn first to go in the jump off and produced an immaculate clear round with nine-year-old Overa to put the pressure on the riders following her.
Sweden’s Lotta Schultz and Calibra II picked up four faults and America’s Georgina Bloomberg eight, leaving the door open for Molly Ashe-Cawley. She set off meaning business and completed the course in by far the fastest time, but left one rail on the floor to hand Tina her third win in this prestigious class.
Tina, whose previously wins came in 1992 and 1993, said: “It’s fantastic to win this class again. As an ‘old mother’ I didn’t expect it.”
Visit horseandhound.co.uk for the Longines King George V Gold Cup report later today and don’t miss next Thursday’s H&H for full reports on all the action from Hickstead