Super-smooth and with a sharp turn to the last, an on-form Harriet Nuttall landed the top-billed grand prix – the first lady to take the title – on the final day of the All England Jumping Championships at Hickstead with Galway Bay Jed.
It was a perfectly-judged performance by the Somerset rider, who has an incredible record at the All England Jumping Course, and a brilliant return to form for the combination who had a fall during July’s five-star international show.
“Galway Bay Jed has done well here and won the Queen’s here a couple of years ago, but I had a bit of a shocking time in this year’s King George with him when we fell into the side of the water,” explains Harriet on the Romanov/Lux 11-year-old. “He was a bit sore afterwards, but he’s back and felt fit and ready, so I wanted to aim for the Grand Prix. He felt happy and back to his normal self again.”
Harriet has had the 11-year-old gelding since he was five – “It’s been a long partnership, and I can’t wait for the future with him, he’s a really talented horse,” she added.
Lady riders dominated this 51-strong class. Lily Freeman-Attwood chased hard but had to settle for second with the nine-year-old Cor Leon VD Vlierbeek Z and Georgia Tame – who is based at Hickstead with Shane Breen – claimed third aboard the 10-year-old Jeff Ten Halven. Louise Whitaker slotted Special Warrior into fourth ahead of Charles Luyckx on Virtuose D’Eole in fifth and Joe Stockdale (Casharel) and Nicole Pavitt (Gemmarco 16) in sixth and seventh.
Georgia Tame maintained her ‘at least one win a week’ mantra on the ultra-consistent Quintella and the pair – who claimed three wins at Chepstow Summer International a week earlier – topped the All England 1.30m Championship.
Eight of the 29 starters contended the jump-off with the on-form Georgia taking all the short turn options and a dramatic turn of speed with a flyer to the last rustic oxer to win by 1.74 sec.
Henry Turrell gave Georgia a run for a money in the final draw on Barbados but had to settle for second. Jess Dimmock eased Billy Fleance into third with Helen Rees providing the only other double clear for fourth on Bart VI. India Bussey took fifth on Billy Olive, Sally Goding was sixth and seventh aboard Corbeagh Luxor and Lord Luidam while Ollie Tuff finished eighth on Esgracia.
Nicole Pavitt kept rhythm and pace with a smooth round on Commitment to take the 30-strong All England novice championship.
Anna Power claimed second on Bina Ford’s six-year-old McQueen IV with Scarlett Ward on another six-year-old, Nathan, in third. Bex Mason guided Vanfeins into fourth with Alex Hempleman’s Genius III in fifth and Megan Motmans rode Irene into sixth.
Alfie Bradstock commandeered the 32-horse All England 1.20m title with the eight-year-old mare Grand Cru I.
“I’ve had her for 18 months, and she’s so fast and careful. She loves the atmosphere in that ring, and I think Hickstead’s shows are the best in the country,” said Alfie.
Nick Edwards guided the nine-year-old Royal Trooper II into second ahead of Laura Hutt on Baltimore Landzicht in third. Eleni Falla netted fourth on Hasta La Vista II with Nicole Lockhead Anderson (Akham Hero Z) and Ciaran Flynn (Native Warrior) in fifth and sixth places.
For the first time, Hickstead held a series of Arena Eventing competitions starting at 80cm upwards. Fittingly, Lorna Breen – the daughter of showjumper Shane Breen and Hickstead Director Chloe Breen – took the honours in the under 16 division, riding her speedy grey pony Maxi Million.
The over-16 section went to Claire Lewis and Perriland Leonardo, who went to take the 90cm title as well. The day drew to a close with the 1m competition, which was won by Natasha Barton and Belle of the Ball IV.
The Arena Eventing marked the first official use of Hickstead’s all-weather cross-country facilities, which will be open for hire from October to May.
Text and Photos © Jumping Around/Hickstead & Julian Portch