Three Queens for Breen
Ireland’s Shane Breen collected another Hickstead title today, picking up his third career win in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup.
The Queen Elizabeth II Cup Shane Breen & Haya (c: Elli Birch)
Kelvin Bywater’s challenging 1.50m track caught most competitors out, with just three of the 28 starters producing clears in the opening round. Joe Fernyhough went first with Calcourt Particle, completing the shortened jump-off track in 45.39sec. Scotland’s Nicole Lockhead went next on Miss Aragona PS, delivering a faster clear in 41.38 sec.
But Hickstead-based Shane Breen, who won last month’s Al Shira’aa Derby, knows exactly what it takes to win in the Longines International Arena, and he steered the 10-year-old grey mare Haya round to shave more than a second off Nicole’s time to take the win.
“She’s incredibly careful, and I was a little apprehensive because she’s never been in the main arena, and she’s only jumped a water in a sand arena. But I was so impressed with her because in the first round, nothing fazed her. In the jump-off, I watched Joe on the big screen, and he did an excellent round – and then when I saw Nicole going I thought how am I going to beat this? So I tried to do the same as Nicole but just go a smidgeon tighter to the white vertical,” Shane explained.
The Queen Elizabeth II Cup used to be an international class open to lady riders only, before a rule change in 2008 meant it became a national championship for both men and women. Shane was the first man to win the trophy, taking the title on Carmena Z in 2008 then adding another win in 2013 with Zarnita. Both Shane and his younger brother Trevor have won every one of Hickstead’s major titles except one – the Longines King George V Gold Cup – and tomorrow they will each have a chance of completing the set.
Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts took top honours in this morning’s Royal International Salver, riding the 10-year-old H&M Miro. Oliver, the son of four-time Olympian Ludo Philippaerts, came out on top after a 15-strong jump-off, finishing over 2.5sec ahead of second-placed Samuel Hutton and Bonne Amie.
The final class of the day, the €25,500 Royal International Speed Classic, went to Brazil's Francisco Jose Mesquita Musa. Riding Catch Me Marathon, he sprinted across the finish line in a time of 61.47sec to take the win, ahead of Britain's Jack Whitaker and Scenletha in second. It was Francisco's first international win at the All England Jumping Course.
In the showing classes, Danielle Heath added her second major championship of the week with the Brereton Supreme Hack Championship. Her win came courtesy of Forgeland Hydepark, with Vicky Smith and Young Lochinvar in reserve. Robert Walker also added another title to his tally, winning the Culford Lodge Commodities Small Hunter Championship with Good Idea, who was purchased just 10 days before the show.