Showjumper Paul Crago won the final class of the day on the Wednesday of the Longines Royal International Horse Show.
The Berkshire-based rider won the Outside Events Catering Winter Grades B&C Championship on Dawn Cooley’s Valentino IX, heading a hugely competitive jump-off field.
A total of 11 riders made it through to the jump-off, with Geoff Luckett coming closest to Paul's time - he finished on 36.80 with Final Strike while Paul crossed the finish line in 36.09.
The next five riders were all within a second of each other, with John Whitaker, Pippa Funnell, Danielle Jolliffe (taking 5th and 6th with two different rides) and Laura Hutt taking up the remaining placings with double clears.
Paul has had the ride on Valentino IX, known in the stable as Bertie, for two years.
He was a little bit backwards when he arrived, but he's really come into his own. He can be a bit of a hooligan and the first time he jumped in the International Arena he was spooky, but he was brilliant today, so careful and quick.
It was the pony riders who took their turn in the spotlight in the morning.
Emily Ward and King Mac got the day off to a good start with a win in the Winter Grade JC Championship; while Jodie Hall McAteer and My Little Sweetheart won the Winter 128cms Championship. In the Winter 138cms Championship, Olivia Poole and Oakhurst In The Spotlight were victorious, jumping clear in a time of 40.66.
Several showing championships reached their conclusion today.
The Sandal-BMW Supreme Show Hunter Pony Championship went to the 15hh Noble Star, ridden by Clare Curry, while the Pure Bred Ridden Arab Championship was won by Silvern Prince and Darren Crowe.
The international action begins tomorrow, with the £20,000 Bunn Leisure Trophy in the morning attracting a top class field of riders.
The Amlin Plus Eventing Grand Prix will see eventers and showjumpers tackle a unique course of coloured fences and cross-country jumps - Olympic riders Mark Kyle and Andrew Nicholson line up alongside Grand National winning jockey Robbie Power plus Hickstead Derby winner Guy Williams and Skip Two Ramiro.
For more information visit www.hickstead.co.uk
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