Billy Twomey won the Longines King George V Gold Cup, ending his exceptionally successful Hickstead week in glory. The Irish rider had already claimed the Bunn Leisure Salver (with Diaghilev), plus the British Speed Classic and the Bunn Leisure Vase (with Thomas) when he claimed Sunday’s signature class.
Of the 48 top riders that entered the King George V Gold Cup, 13 went clear in the first round, including Britons Anna Power and Tim Stockdale.
In the jump-off, America’s Katherine Dinan, who was the second to go, jumped the first double clear in 44.38 sec but the lead was a hotly contested affair. Stockdale wrested it from Dinan when he produced an impeccable round aboard Fleur de L’Aube — but then Ireland’s Bertram Allen and Molly Malone V beat them by a quarter of a second.
A storming round by Wout-Jan Van Der Schans saw the Dutch rider take the top spot from Allen, who was later pushed further down the leaderboard by the excellent performance of the USA’s Lillie Keenan.
However, there was no beating Twomey. The in form Irishman was the last to go aboard Lizziemary. It was the chestnut mare’s Hickstead debut, but that didn’t hold the combination back: they powered round to claim the King George V Gold Cup by shaving half a second off Van Der Schans’ time.
“Ordinarily horses need to know that arena, but she’s really brave and has a big rangy gallop that covers the ground, so it suits her,” Twomey said.
“I’m just delighted how this mare performed — I’ve always felt she’s been knocking on the door, but not quite delivered. I’m very proud that she’s managed to win one of the most prestigious classes in the world. I had a good show in Dublin last week, where I was the leading rider – there is a lot to be said for when you’ve got your tail up and are full of confidence.”
Meanwhile, Yazmin Pinchen celebrated her first international win at Hickstead in the Royal International Accumulator aboard the 13-year-old gelding Van De Vivaldi.
“He jumped so well yesterday, I knew I could trust him and let him go a bit,” Pinchen explained. “When jumping bigger tracks, I can be a bit nervous to really go against the clock, but here I thought I’d press on and go for it – though I did think I’d be beaten.”
It was an especially important victory for the British rider, who is 13 weeks pregnant and will soon stop riding: “I’ve actually had three wins since I found out!”
Image: Billy Twomey wins the Longines King George V Gold Cup by Craig Payne Photography, courtesy of Hickstead