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Thomas takes first five-star Grand Prix title

Sunday, 31 July 2022
CSIO5* Longines Royal International Horse Show 2022

Photo © Elli Birch/Boots and Hooves Photography Belgium's Gilles Thomas and Aretino 13 won the Longines King George V Gold Cup at the Longines Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead, West Sussex. Photo © Elli Birch/Boots and Hooves Photography.

 

Edited press release from Hickstead Press Office

 


 

Belgium’s Gilles Thomas had his first five-star Grand Prix win today when claiming the historic Longines King George V Gold Cup at Hickstead. It was the first time a Belgian rider has lifted the iconic trophy since Jacques Misonne’s win in 1931.

Eight riders made it through to the jump-off for today’s Grand Prix, with Kelvin Bywater’s cleverly-designed track catching out many of the sport’s leading names. In the second round, Britain’s Robert Whitaker initially led with a fast-four fault round on Evert (Amadeus x Indoctro), before Ireland’s Trevor Breen delivered the first double clear on Gonzalo (Viceroy T x Londontimes) to move into the top spot. Things then got exciting when Brazil’s Marlon Modolo Zanotelli with Harwich VDL (Arezzo VDL x Darco) went nearly 1.5sec quicker to go ahead of Trevor.

Next up was Great Britain’s star Harry Charles, who was hoping for his first victory in the class that his father Peter won in 2009. Riding the experienced 16-year-old Borsato (Contendro I x Nijinski), Harry delivered a brilliant clear round in a time of 51.22sec. But British hopes for a home win were dashed when the Gilles, the last rider to go, shaved an impressive 3sec off the time to take the €49,500 first prize riding Aretino 13 (Artani 2 x Caretino).

“This is only the second time I rode a jump-off with him – but I didn’t know he was so quick, so I just went for it! I thought it was quite slow but I think I have a quick horse here! I had the advantage that I was the last to go,” said Gilles, 24. “Hickstead is a historical Grand Prix, it’s really special. Kevin Jochems is my best friend, his first Grand Prix win was also here in 2018, so I will call him later and tell him this Grand Prix is not so hard to win!” he joked.

Harry Charles, who heads to Herning next week for the ECCO FEI World Championships, was pragmatic after just missing out on the title. “I came here with the goal to try to win this Grand Prix with the horse – he’s 16 so he has all the experience now, and he’s just getting better with age. He jumped the first round fantastic, and it was a cool course to jump, actually – we jump in a lot of small sand rings with delicate little poles, and it was nice to have some proper jumps,” he commented.



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