American Beezie Madden made Hickstead history by winning the Longines King George V Gold Cup on Aug. 2nd for a second successive year.
The 51-year-old Madden has now become the first female to successfully defend the title, again triumphing on 13-year-old bay gelding Cortes C to win the trophy and the €66,000 winner’s share of the purse. The last showjumper to win successive Gold Cups was Italian Piero d’Inzeo on The Rock in 1961 and 1962.
The event, which first took place 104 years ago, had previously been an exclusive male domain in terms of its champion riders like David Broome, Eddie Macken, Paul Schockemohle, Nick Skelton and John Whitaker.
“It’s quite an honour to win it back-to-back,” Madden said. “I know he’s amazingly naturally fast, so I knew I could leave strides out, like the right turn to the vertical and at the second-last fence, so I really tested him there and I was able to coast home a little.”
Madden’s jump-off time of 43.06 came under serious threat initially from the 19-year-old rising British star Jessica Mendoza and Spirit T, then French rider Penelope Leprevost on Flora de Mariposa, who went clear in 43.42 to finish second, well ahead of third-placed Dutch challenger Jur Vrieling with VDL Zirocco Blue. The top six places were completed by Britain’s William Whitaker and Fandango in fifth, and American Todd Minikus, riding Babalou 41.