Hickstead Nations Cup

By: Horse Deals

Hickstead Nations Cup
Peter Charles and Murka's Pom d'Ami Picture by Kit Houghton/FEI
It was Britain first and the rest nowhere in this year’s home leg of the Meydan Super League Nations Cup at Hickstead. Rob Hoekstra’s team of Peter Charles (Murka’s Pom d’Ami), William Funnell (Billy Congo), Tina Fletcher (Hello Sailor) and Michael Whitaker (GIG Amai), backed up from the sidelines by fifth man Robert Smith, proved a class above some strong opposition and won the prestigious Edward, Prince of Wales Trophy without fullback Michael having to jump a second time.

This was the first British win here since 2006 and the first Super League victory since Rome in 2008, but more importantly it confirmed Britain’s place in the top league for another year.

"That was always our goal, so it’s lovely to achieve it before the final leg in Dublin next week," said Rob.

In round one, the Brits seemed the only team able to cope with Hickstead’s gradients and Bob Ellis’s big track, which also contained several distance problems. Peter, William and Tima were all foot-perfect and Amai just made a couple of novicey errors. The other teams got to grips with the competition in round two, but repeat performances from the first three Britons left the result in no doubt.

This was a particularly brave ride from Tina, who suffered a crashing fall in the previous competition and spent some time with the doctors before being pronounced fit to be on the team.

"I’m sore and I can’t feel my left arm properly, but I’m delighted with my horse," she said.

Peter could also be well satisfied with another great performance from Pom d’Ami, the horse he has made available to Britain’s team for the entire season, while William’s achievement was made even sweeter by the fact that Billy Congo is home-bred by his former team ride Vechta out of Billy Autumn, who also competed internationally.