Belfast Telegraph

It's all so easy peasy as Beezie Madden strikes gold

By Billy Weir

The clues were there that it wasn't going to be a great day's action at the show jumping on Sky on Sunday when commentator Mike Tucker, possibly the world's poshest man, uttered his opening gambit at Hickstead.

"The talking is virtually done and the action is about to begin," he began as American Charlie Jayne on the catchily-named Chill R Z clip-clopped into the arena and promptly plopped a large pile of something that will improve the lush green sward immeasurably.

It set the tone, as equine after equine clattered into fences, meaning there were more fallen poles to deal with than the NIE after a windy night, and the King George V Gold Cup threatened a less than regal ending.

Thankfully though order was restored, suitably enough by a Dutchman riding a white horse, as Jur Vrieling finally recorded a clear round on his mount VDL Zirocco Blue N.O.P. Honestly, what was wrong with calling horses Champion or Dobbin?

Still, I'm not here to talk about history, Tucker, who sounds very different from his days at Grange Hill, took up that subject with talk of the Gold Cup that was, for many years, exclusively for men.

"The competition that started as long ago as 1911, apart from the horrendous war years of World War One from 1915-1920, has been competed for ever since," he explained, as World War Two was clearly not important enough to stop show jumping.

Of course a Whitaker has competed in every one of those competitions, and thankfully another one, William, made it six clear rounds in the end on board Fandango, not put off by thunderbolt and lightning that can be very, very frightening.

But there was room for only one queen in the King George, as for the second year in a row, a woman called Elizabeth reigned supreme with American Beezie Madden winning the jump-off and striking a blow for womankind.

It was that kind of weekend.

Belfast Telegraph


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