Armstrong had been fast and clear in the jump-off on Embaixador, a seven-year-old Brazilian-bred thoroughbred who was bought for him to ride a couple of months ago. They looked to have the pounds 1,000 first prize in safe keeping until Gugler, last to go in the six-horse jump-off, defeated him by a comfortable margin.
Gugler, 30, has never been to England as a tourist before, let alone as a competitor. It was not until Monday that he heard he would be riding here and he made the most of his late call, gaining the second German victory of the show in which Alois Pollmann- Schweckhorst had won on Thursday.
For some incomprehensible reason the main jumping class was, for the second day running, left until last on the schedule. Most of those who stayed for the start of the contest on a drizzly late afternoon had left before the jump-off.
At least the demands of television, who were not transmitting here yesterday, will make things better over the next two days. Both today's Queen's Cup for women and tomorrow's King George V Gold Cup for men will occupy a more sensible early afternoon slot.
Keith Shore won the earlier Bond International Speed Challenge, reversing the placings with Geoff Luckett who had pushed him back to runner-up on Thursday. Shore, the 29-year-old son of a Cheshire pigeon farmer, had last competed here 10 years ago when he was jumping in young riders' classes. His winning mount, Dun Equity, had never been here before.
'He keeps having a look, but he keeps going,' Shore said of the 11- year-old horse who is owned by an Irishman, Liam O'Neill. Yesterday he kept going with great effect on a course that had become slippery after heavy rain, winning this speed contest by 0.66sec.
ROYAL INTERNATIONAL HORSE SHOW (Hickstead, Sussex): Bond International Stakes: 1 Donna Carara (D Gugler, Ger) clear, 45.22sec; 2 Embaixador (M Armstrong, GB) clear, 48.03; 3 Giulietta (A Pollmann- Schweckhorst, Ger) clear, 49.47. Bond International Speed Challenge: 1 Dun Equity (K Shore, GB) 73.55sec; 2 Everest Fire One (G Luckett, GB) 74.21; 3 Flying Cloud (D Inglis, GB) 74.91.Reuse content