Sweden’s Peter Eriksson gained his first ever Hickstead victory when he and the Swedish-bred Lanz jumped the faster of only two clears in the Refco Speed Grand Prix.
Peter, 43, who has won numerous championship medals, announced his retirement from the sport in December last year, but was persuaded to return to the ring. He jumped a fluent round on the big bay son of Landlord to hold off Ireland’s Billy Twomey’s speedy effort on Give Me Remus by 1.5sec.
Heavy rain made the going very difficult for the riders over a course that included the DerbyBank and two parts of the Devil’s Dyke. Richard Davenport was the best of the British in fourth with a good performance from a late draw on the attractive stallion, Golisco Louviere.
“The going was a bit slippery, but it was the same for everybody,” said Peter, who was genuinely delighted by his win.
John Whitaker earlier scored the first part of a family double when he headed the Twineham international two-phase on Cartier PSG, while brother Michael began his day with a close second place on his home-bred Flare Time in the Osborne Refrigeration Grade C championship.
This class was changed to an speed format to allow all 35 qualifiers the chance to jump in the International Arena and Mennell Watson produced a flying roundto take the honours on Helen van Heyningen’s seven-year-old Tiran.