'All the horses found it hard work,' Ledingham said of the holding ground. But it was the British favourites,
notably Michael Whitaker who lowered six fences with Everest Midnight Madness, who seemed to be toiling more than most. William Funnell, third on Comex, was the best of the Britons.
John Whitaker, who had eight faults on Gammon, was due to have ridden Milton in an outside ring. That plan was aborted when Whitaker dug a heel in the soft going. Milton's comeback is now geared for Arnhem in the Netherlands and Aachen in Germany next month.
David Broome's former mount, the Irish-bred Lannegan, jumped a good clear round in yesterday's sticky conditions for his new rider, Martin Lucas, to finish eighth in the main class. 'That was a great pleasure to see, it was a beautiful round,' Broome said, at the official announcement of his retirement from international jumping.
Broome's many triumphs have included one world and three European Championships, two individual Olympic bronze medals and a record six wins in the King George V Gold Cup. 'I'm getting older,' the 54-year-old Welshman said yesterday. 'I used to roll over and miss the pain if I had a fall, now I spread out and absorb it.'
HICKSTEAD NATIONS CUP MEETING: West Sands Holiday Homes Stakes: 1 Kilbaha (Capt J Ledingham, Irl) clear, 70.58sec; 2 Diamond Exchange (J Chesney, Irl) clear, 74.80; 3 Comex (W Funnell, GB) clear, 78.82. West Sands Speed Stakes: 1 Everest Vantage (G Luckett, GB) clear, 58.06sec; 2 It's the Business (G Glazzard, GB) clear, 58.53; 3 Belarus Diamond Express (F Connors, Irl) clear, 59.58.
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