The British squad of Ben Maher (Exit Remo), Tim Gredley (Medoc De Toxandria), John Whitaker (Equine America Unick de Francport) and Harry Charles (Casquo Blue) were on dominant form to lift the Edward, Prince of Wales Trophy, finishing on a team total of just four faults.

Anchorman Harry Charles delivered two faultless rounds, exactly as he had done 12 months earlier, to share in the €50,000 double clear bonus. The last time Britain won the Hickstead Nations Cup in 2010, Harry’s father Peter Charles had been on the winning team, and he was there to witness his son match his feat. “It’s my first Nations Cup win, and I’m so happy for all the boys, and for Di,” said Harry. “I think for months this has been our goal, so when a plan comes together like it did today, it’s a real sense of achievement. It’s a really special day.”

Harry’s team mates were on equally strong form, with Ben delivering a clear round in the first round, and John and Tim delivering clears in the second. “I think we’ve had good vibes all week, and we felt quietly confident,” said John, 67. “The first time I came to Hickstead was in 1970 or ’71 with a pony. But today was – after all those years – probably the best day.”

Britain’s chef d’equipe admitted to shedding a tear after the emotional win. “It’s ideal when you get this combination of experience and youth,” she said. “When we have Ben leading us out, it gives us all a great spring in our step to start with – we’ve all got confidence in him to go out first wherever we’re drawn. It was fabulous to have him in the team this week. Tim’s come to the top with us this year; he’s been in the winning team several times, so it’s absolutely fabulous. My third member John clinched it for us – his reputation goes well before him. And I’m so proud of Harry. Twice now, he’s been my anchor rider and delivered so well. I couldn’t be more pleased for him. At this age, he’s showing such a maturity.”

It was the first time Tim Gredley had been on a team at Hickstead. “I used to come here when I was doing working hunter classes – and one of the reasons I got into showjumping is because of watching the likes of John riding on the team here when I was 13 or 14. To actually be here jumping on a team with him, Ben and Harry was a bit of a surreal experience.”

For reigning Olympic champion Ben Maher, it ticked off another of his career goals – having won many of Hickstead’s feature classes including the Longines King George V Gold Cup and the Hickstead Derby – the Nations Cup was one of the few accolades he was yet to win. “It was an amazing team to be part of, and an amazing day,” he said.

The competition had remained tight throughout the first round, with France, Great Britain and Ireland sharing the lead at the half-way stage on just four faults apiece. Ireland’s hopes were delivered a blow in round two when Shane Breen picked up eight faults on Cuick Star Kervec and second rider Mark McAuley was eliminated following his round, though two clears from Jack Ryan (BBS McGregor) and Daniel Coyle (Legacy) meant the team finished in the runner up spot on 12 faults. France slipped down the leaderboard to third with 16 faults, with Sweden fourth, the USA in fifth and Germany, Brazil and Italy completing the line-up.

Following their win Great Britain has leapt up the European Division One leaderboard to sit in third place, behind Germany and Switzerland, with another opportunity to pick up points at the next leg of the Nations Cup™ series in Dublin in August.

In this morning’s opening class, the Clipmyhorse.TV CSIYH1* 2nd Qualifier, Nicole Lockhead Anderson and the impressive seven-year-old Conthargo PS finished best of the 34 competitors. Nicole’s decisive clear in a time of 69.89sec was nearly 1.5sec faster than second-placed John Crippen and Bennys Kelly.

The Agria Royal International Stakes went to Germany’s Richard Vogel, making his first appearance at the Longines Royal International Horse Show.

Drawn third to go on the 14-year-old Evermeta, Richard produced a blazingly fast early round of 62.12 seconds that none of the 39 other competitors in the class could match.

“She’s not a very patient horse, but it’s that quality that makes her so fast,” said Richard, who has only been partnered with the fourteen-year-old Dutch-bred mare for a few months. “The moment she clears each fence she’s like, ‘okay, where’s the next one?’ She doesn’t lose any time.”

Though the new partnership is proving to be successful, Richard wasn’t initially convinced by owner Viktor Nyiri’s pitch to take her on.

“I have a couple of other horses for the owner, and he said, ‘I think you’d be a great match’,” he said. “I doubted it a bit at the beginning, because I only saw videos of her – but he persuaded me to give her a try, and the first time I rode her, I liked her very much. She’s such a fighter with a brilliant mind.”

Britain’s Matt Sampson was second, finishing on 65.51 sec with the 13-year-old KWPN Fabrice DN.

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