Brazilian rider Yuri Mansur secured a remarkable triple of wins this week when claiming the honours in the €200,000 Longines King George V Gold Cup at Hickstead.
The victory came just two days after Yuri was part of the winning team in Friday’s FEI Nations Cup™ leg. Both wins came courtesy of the 11-year-old mare Babylotte. Today Yuri and his horse were on phenomenal form, producing the only double clear round of the competition to lift the historic trophy.
There were 46 starters in today’s King George, which forms the finale to the CSIO5* Longines Royal International Horse Show. Course designer Kelvin Bywater set a long, difficult track with 12 fences and 16 jumping efforts, and only four managed to jump clear in round one.
British hopes lay with Keith Shore, who was first to go in the jump-off. He set the pace with a time of 57.63sec on Mystic Hurricane, but one fence down left the door open for his three rivals to go ahead.
Germany’s Patrick Stühlmeyer on Lacan 2 finished on eight faults to finish an eventual fourth, while the Netherlands’ Ruben Romp (Audi’s Teavanta II C Z) also knocked one fence down, but shaved more than three seconds off Keith’s time to take the lead.
Mansur was last to go in the jump-off, and he was able to concentrate on netting a clear round – which he duly did, in a time of 57.52sec.
“For me it was an amazing experience – this mare, I just have no words for her,” said an overwhelmed Yuri. “When I bought her she was jumping in 1.45m classes and hated to jump on grass, but since then she’s more than proven herself.”
“My strategy today was to go the same speed as Ruben, but after I made the turn to fence seven, then I said to myself I have to stay clear, and that’s what I did. It’s a dream for me, I can’t believe it.”
It’s been a superb week for Yuri. As well as his win in the FEI Nations Cup of Great Britain, presented by Longines, the 37-year-old Holland-based rider also won the first international class of the show, the Bunn Leisure Vase.
Third placed Keith Shore was philosophical after coming close to being the first British winner of the Longines King George V Gold Cup since Ben Maher in 2010.
“I don’t really think he should have had a fence down to be honest, but that’s horses and they do. It was only last night I knew I was going to jump in the class so to come third is very good,” he said.
Earlier this morning, Robert Whitaker rode out the winner of the Royal International Accumulator. Riding the eight-year-old stallion Noble Warrior, Robert produced a blisteringly quick time of 43.13sec. Second placed Jur Vrieling (Zypern III) was just two-hundredths of a second in arrears in what was the closest speed class of the week. France’s Benoit Cernin was third (43.26sec), with Robert’s father John Whitaker fourth in a time of 44.29sec.
“He’s always jumped well but the last couple of months he’s really stepped up,” said Robert. “Today he’s shown how good he is.”