Hickstead SJ Sunday

By: Horse Deals

Hickstead SJ Sunday
Tim Stockdale and Fresh Direct Kalico Bay Picture courtesy of British Showjumping
Ever since watching his hero Mike Saywell winning the King George V Gold Cup, Tim Stockdale had an ambition to do the same. And the dream came true for the man from Northamptonshire this year at the Longines Royal International Horse Show.

Seven horses were clear over a traditionally tough course that featured some difficult lines and turn-backs. Among those in the jump-off were Ellen Whitaker (Locarno) and Tina Fletcher (Hello Sailor), both bidding to become the first woman rider to take this most famous of classes, but a fence down apiece then left them in fifth and sixth places.

The first double clear came from Robert Smith, who produced a wonderful round on the careful nine-year-old Talan. Robert was elated on the way out of the ring and he must have breathed a sigh of relief when French European Champion Kevin Staut lowered the final fence after a lightning round with Nick Skelton’s former ride, Le Prestige St Lois.

The same fate befell William Funnell with Billy Congo, but from last draw, Tim Stockdale set off like a rocket on Fresh Direct Kalico Bay. He didn’t meet the gate, three from home, on the best of strides, but Colin Garratt’s Irish-bred nine-year-old obligingly picked up and carried on without even breaking stride. They were so fast that Tim had time to steady before the last and still break the beam almost 2sec ahead.

"To say I’m on Cloud Nine is an understatement. I’m much higher than that," said a tearful Tim afterwards.

John Whitaker, who has featured on the King’s Cup winner’s list on several occasions, gained a popular victory in the earlier accumulator. Riding the Brakes’ scopey young stallion Voss, the "maestro" cut all the corners and never looked like lowering a fence en route to the £2,000 first prize.