Equestrianism: Wulschner's success adds to barren British sequence
Monday 28 July 2008
Holger Wulschner recorded the third German victory this century when he won yesterday's historic contest here for the King George V Gold Cup on Clausen after jumping two foot-perfect clear rounds. Two of Wulschner's compatriots – Ludger Beerbaum in 2002 and Rene Tebbel in 2004 – have also won in the last eight years. Britain have not added a single name to the handsome trophy since Nick Skelton triumphed in 1999.
The German rider defeated Belgium's Peter Devos on Equiphamma Tekela, with Britain's Geoff Billington a close third after two excellent clear rounds on Rosinus, who moved into his Cheshire yard in March. "I'm happily surprised," Billington said. "I didn't think he could do it."
Like the King's Cup, the 60-year-old Queen Elizabeth II Cup (formerly for women riders) has been opened up to both sexes. On Saturday the Irishman Shane Breen – the son-in-law of Hickstead's owner, Douglas Bunn – became the first man to have his name inscribed on the trophy with a lovely clear round in the jump-off. His mount was the remarkable eight-year-old Carmena, who seems destined for great things. Breen defeated Britain's William Funnell on the home-bred Billy Birr, who had been backed from 10-1 to start as 2-1 favourite. Funnell had the nous to back himself each-way before the price shortened.
Women riders were vastly outnumbered by men in the King's Cup, so there was little hope that one of them would secure a historic trophy that was first presented in 1911. Charlotte Platt seemed the best chance for Britain after jumping the only double clear round of the entire Super League Nations Cup on Friday, but this time she went out in the first round with two fences down on Paulien II.
Two women – Sweden's Helena Lundback and Nicole Shahinian-Simpson of the United States – did, however, make it to the jump-off, finishing fifth and seventh respectively.
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