An early birthday present for, Dutchman, Kevin Jochems as Captain Cooper claims Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup at the Hickstead Royal International.
This prestigious €150,000 Grand Prix was first held in 1911, and it remains a class that every top showjumper wants to win. In his first five-star season and first Hickstead, the rising Dutch star, who celebrates his 23rd birthday on the final day of the show (Sunday 29 July), lead from the start to claim the iconic trophy.
Despite the disadvantage of going first in the jump-off, Kevin clocked up a fast clear in a time of 50.35sec with the 11-year-old Captain Cooper, and none of the other six riders to follow him could catch his time.
“I had a very, very good feeling about my horse today. The jump-offs were very long lines which suits my horse, so I went as fast as possible. When I came out I said, ‘I think that is quick enough’,” said Kevin.
“I can’t quite describe the feeling – I already feel very honoured to be here at Hickstead and to be in the [Nations Cup] team on Sunday. It’s incredible that my name is going to be on this trophy alongside these names and I’m part of that now.
“My parents are farmers and I’ve been riding ponies since I was six. About a year ago I moved to be based with Leon Thijssen, and I now have a couple of great horses and some great opportunities.”
Italy’s Massimo Grossato and Great Britain’s Amanda Derbyshire took second and third place respectively. Like Kevin, both riders were making their debut at this showground.
“This is his first five-star Grand Prix and I couldn’t be happier with him,” said Amanda. “The advice from Nick Skelton was go in to win it and I thought I was really fast but obviously I wasn’t!”
In the Bunn Leisure International Stakes, Great Britain’s Joe Clayton took the spoils on Carolus K DHI, keeping Ireland’s Trevor Breen and Noble Warrior in second place.
Carolus K DHI lives with his owner Jane Heerbeck, who lives about five minutes away from Joe’s new base in Melton Mowbray, and Joe only rides the horse at shows. “It was all down to the horse – I didn’t think I gave it the best ride, but he is naturally quick, and he gives you confidence because you know you can trust him to the fences. He loves that Arena – he loves big open spaces where he can run and jump.”
Britain’s William Funnell, who finished on just one time fault in the King’s Cup with his Al Shira’aa Derby winner Billy Buckingham, did secure a win in the Old Lodge International 7 & 8 Year Old qualifier with the seven-year-old Billy Kodak.