Nicole Cruises to another victory at Hickstead

Nicole Lockhead Anderson won today's feature class at the All England September Tour 

Nicole Lockhead Anderson & Emerald Irish Cruise (2)

Scottish rider Nicole Lockhead Anderson added another Hickstead sash to her collection when claiming the honours in the TDA Telecoms Seven Year Old Star of the Future Final.

Twenty-four combinations came forward for today’s feature class at the All England September Tour, with eight of those producing clears in the first round. Despite being drawn first to go in the jump-off, Nicole set such a quick time on board Emerald Irish Cruise that she ended up being 1.5sec quicker than runner-up Jessica Burke (Billy Etna).  

“I was first to go so I had to take some risks as I knew some behind me would go fast, but she likes to go quick so she makes it very easy,” said Nicole, who wasn’t phased by her draw. “I quite like going in and doing my own thing, and luckily today it paid off.”

Nicole is getting a reputation as being a formidable force against the clock, but today she gave credit to her Irish Sports Horse mare. “She’s amazing, every time she comes out she wants to win. She just loves the big arena, and she’s been incredible since day one.”

The first class of the day, the Hy Equestrian Hickstead 1.10m Amateur Championship, was also won by the first drawn rider in the jump-off. Vicky Lovegrove and the 10-year-old stallion Bonaparte Z set an unbeatable time of 39.37sec to see them take the title ahead of Melissa Garry and Billy Elsyng.

“He is the most laid-back stallion ever, so chilled with a lovely temperament,” said Vicky. “The girls at home ride him and hack him out.”

Similarly, in the EQ Horseboxes 1.20m Amateur Championship, Rebecca Middleton and Last Thought produced the first double clear and held on to the lead throughout. “It was amazing – I burst into tears when I found out I'd won!” she said.

Rebecca got Last Thought from William Funnell in 2019, and she has produced the nine-year-old gelding up through the levels from 90cm. “We have just grown together. I'd quite like to move through the stages, I’ve just done a few 1.30m with him. William and Roger from the Billy Stud have been a big support, so I couldn’t have done this without them, him, and my husband!”

The last class of the day, however, was won by the last combination to go - with Georgia Darlington and Lisa's Dream taking the honours in the Spidge Photography 1.00m Open Championship. It was a case of third time lucky for the pair, who had qualified for the same final twice previously.  

"I've had her for six years, and we started doing working hunter pony classes originally and she's been in the England working hunter team three times and had two third placings at HOYS," said Georgia. "I'm now out of the class on her so she's been showjumping and has been doing really well."

The All England Jumping Tour runs from 31 August – 4 September and then from 7 - 11 September, with the action livestreamed throughout on Hickstead.TV and ClipMyHorse.TV. Admission and parking is free to spectators.

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