Only Foreigners Jump Clears In King George at Hickstead
The Royal International Horse Show is one of the oldest established events held each year in the UK. The first show took place at Olympia in London in 1907. Following intermittent annual renewals, The Duke of Beaufort established the event once and for all in 1934. The show has had various homes, Wembley Stadium, The White City and the National Exhibition Centre until it found its permanent home at Hickstead in 1992. Since its very early days, the event has been the official show for The British Horse Society.
It is a huge show lasting five days. Not only is there the main International Arena, but throughout the large Hickstead estate owned privately by the Bunn Family, there are further six arenas which have classes from early every morning to early evening. As well as showjumping classes, there are many showing classes, all of which have a final championship judged in the international arena. Just before the main event of the whole show, The King George V Gold cup, the final two showing classes are for the supreme championship for the best horse and best pony at the show are presented.
The King George V Cup/Trophy is said to be the most valuable trophy presented in any sport in the world and is also one of the oldest. It is made of pure gold and weighs ‘a ton’! It was first presented by King George V in 1911. It was presented ever year, and the winner was originally allowed to take it home for the year they were champion. However, in 1939 it was won by Italian rider Alessandro Bettoni Cazzago who took the trophy back to Italy following hs victory. A few weeks later saw the outbreak of the second world war, and from 1939 to 1947, the whereabouts of the trophy was a mystery, and it was believed that it had been melted down. However, in 1947, it resurfaced at the British Embassy in Rome. Apparently, worried that the Nazis would get their hands on the trophy Alessandro buried it in the grounds of his villa in Italy until after the war. Since then, the trophy has had its own guard and never leaves the premises.
Forty one came forward to contest the class. The first seven horses all had faults which demonstrated that the Paul Connor designed horse was certainly no picnic! Swedish rider Peder Fredricson, who has been in such spectacular form this week provided the first clear. Three horses later, was German rider David Will providing the second and therefore we would be in for a jump off. We had to wait for another thirteen combinations to go before another Swedish rider in top form provided the third clear – Fredrik Jonsson. Further down the running order, Brazilian Luiz de Azevedo Filho and Michael Duffy from Ireland gave us the five to jump off.
It was expected that we would have the first ever Swedish winner of the King George, but it was not to be. All five jumped double clears so it was down to time. Peder Fredricson jumped in 45.28 seconds, so all was going to plan, but the next in David Will beat the time by jumping in 43.73 second. The other three jumped clears with the last to go Michael Duffy going like hell in the night – finished his round and thought he had won in 44.10 seconds and was therefore actually second, but after an FEI steward inspection, blood was found on his horse’s flank which meant automatic elimination. He did keep fifth place however. So David Will from Germany put his name on the coveted trophy and was riding 13 year old Selle Francais mare Never Walk Alone. Peder Fredricson was second beating fellow Swedish rider Fredrik Jonsson into third.
The best British rider was Guy Williams riding Rouge de Revel who came sixth in the line up. The next best was Amy Inglis in fifteenth. Clearly British riders are going to have to do something pretty spectacular if any are going to qualify to represent Great Britain in Tokyo next year. Of the eight international classes at Hickstead, British riders won four. Amanda Derbyshire won two, with Ellen Whitaker and Guy Williams winning one a piece. However there appeared to be no Brits in winning line up for the major classes at the show? Despite having some really good riders and horses, Great Britain are certainly in the doldrums at the moment! Something needs to be done – especially as the current Olympic showjumping Champion, don’t forget, is a Brit.