Ireland’s Trevor Breen claimed Sunday’s All England Grand Prix at Hickstead, the feature class of the four-day national show.
Riding his wife Caroline’s mare Bombay II, Trevor set a blistering pace in the 1.40m jump-off and finish on a time of 48.91sec, nearly 3sec ahead of his nearest rival.
“My plan was to go as fast as I possibly could to make sure I wasn’t beaten on time,” said Trevor, who had a nervous wait with several riders still to follow him against the clock.
The former Hickstead Derby winner showed steely nerves as he galloped down to the final fence, the Hickstead planks. “I got a real flier to the last. A few times recently I have had really fast rounds on her and I have steadied up to be careful to the last and she has had it down. I think she is better to just keep going at that rhythm, so I trusted her and she did it, so I am delighted,” he added
As part of his prize, Trevor gets a six-month loan of an Avant loader – which will come in useful, as he’s just set up a new yard a stone’s throw from the showground.
“I am absolutely on a high about the prize, I would really like to thank Avant for their sponsorship of the class. I have been looking at their machines for about two years now at shows, but couldn’t afford one. I said to myself coming in here that I am going to win the prize today, and thankfully I did!”
It was the second time Trevor has claimed the All England Grand Prix, as he also won the second renewal of the class back in 2012 with the superb Adventure De Kannan, who retired this summer just before the Al Shira’aa Derby.
In second place in the Grand Prix, with a time of 51.88sec, was Ben Walker and Roulette H.
Mark Edwards started the All England Jumping Championships with a treble of wins on day one of the show, and ended it with a double on the final day.
The Vale of Glamorgan-based rider claimed the All England Novice Championship with Eternal Evoloution, and the All England 1.20m Open Championship with Harley H.
It was his first time competing in the International Arena, so it was a winning debut.
“I went into the jump off with a few tight turns in mind as I know she is so careful,” said Mark on his Novice winner. “She is such a sweet mare and this is her third win this week.”
The show drew to a close with the All England 1.30m Open Championship, which saw Simon Crippen win by some margin on Atlanta VIII. In second was Chloe Winchester and Sportsfield Our Clare.
The Douglas Bunn 1.35m Memorial Challenge was won by Millie Dickinson, who secured the only clear round of the day to take the title on board Cairo Z II.
Her time of 99.55sec was good enough to win, ahead of Grant Talbot and Elinor Fleming in second and third respectively, with both riders picking up a time fault.
“My tactics were simple – I just wanted to go clear and fast enough not to get a time fault,” said Millie, who comes from Hertfordshire.
Cairo Z II was formerly ridden by Elliott Reeves, who has been working as Jumping Secretary all season at Hickstead.
“‘King’ loves it here at Hickstead, he always has even when Elliott rode him. He just pings over the fences with such ease,” said Millie. “He is going to be spoilt with lots of carrots and will spend a few days in the field!”
Guildford-based Florence Bellm took the All England 1.20m Amateur Championship riding Southbound.
“I have had Southbound for eight years now and have been trying to win a Hickstead rug for five years. To finally achieve it feels amazing.”
Florence also took runner up spot in the All England 1.10m Amateur Championship with her other ride Chipie B F Z, behind eventual winners Kerstin Deakin and Sunsolde.
Alex Gill took the All England 6 & 7 Year Old Championship with the six-year-old Billy Rembrandt. He also took third place with his seven-year-old ride, Billy Amber.
It was a successful debut for the partnership. “Yesterday was the first time I have ever jumped him [Billy Rembrandt] in a competition as he is normally ridden by William Funnell – but he is away jumping abroad at the moment,” explained Alex, who is one of the stable jockeys for the Billy Stud.
“To win at Hickstead is just brilliant! It is fantastic to win in such a historic ring – it’s one of the greatest in the world,” he said.
In second place was Trevor Breen and Zilton SL Z.
In the All England Five Year Old Championship, Harry Bateman took the honours with Havanna, ahead of Holly Smith and Manolito P.
Georgia Tame was back at the top of the International Arena line-up for the second day in a row. She won today’s 1.40m Open riding Cordanos, who is owned by Team Z7.
She had three horses in the class, and picked up third and sixth place as well as her win. “I wasn’t expecting to be placed with all three horses so that is just a bonus,” said the rider, who is based at Breen Equestrian.
The first class to be held in the International Arena at the show was the All England 1.40m Open, with Hickstead resident Georgia Tame taking the honours.
Georgia held off the challenge from some of Hickstead’s recent champions, including Bunn Leisure Derby Tankard winner and Al Shira’aa Derby runner up Holly Smith in second place; British Speed Derby Champion Matthew Sampson in third and former Derby champion Phillip Miller in fourth place.
Her victory came courtesy of Bolien, though she also had two other rides in the 91-strong class.
“Our game plan going into the jump off was to win, so to come out on top is brilliant,” said Georgia, who is based at Breen Equestrian.
She has had the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood Bolien since he was seven.
She will not be having any major celebrations following her opening day win. “Tomorrow I am competing 10 horses so I will be celebrating by going to bed early and eating lots of chocolate!” she added.
One rider who had a day to remember was Mark Edwards, who won three classes. He not only took the 1.30m Open Warm Up class with Greenvale Cara, he also finished second with Harley H in the same class. With Eternal Evoloution he won the Connolly’s Red Mills Senior Newcomers Qualifier, and he also took the All England 6 & 7 Year Old Championship qualifier with Montreuxs Tale.