Tipperary’s Shane Breen and the 11-year-old mare Haya won the Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Hickstead for the second year in a row.
Eight combinations out of the 28 starters jumped clear in the first round.
It wasn’t until the final three riders – all former winners of the Queen’s Cup – that the jump-off really took off. Two-time winner Ireland’s David Simpson came in on new ride Flashback VL and shaved more than 2 seconds off Sammie-Jo Coffin’s leading time.
Shane Breen and Haya went clear in 37.42secs with only Harriet Biddick, a winner of the class in 2017 on Galway Bay Jed left to jump with Night of Glory OL.
Despite their best effort, crossing the line clear in 38.49 seconds, they were forced to concede the win to Breen and Haya.
It was a fourth success in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup for Breen, having claimed the prize in 2008, 2013, 2022 and now 2023. He just one win short of the late Liz Edgar’s record of five wins in total.
Paying tribute to his willing partner, Haya, Hickstead-based Shane Breen said:
“This one’s maybe better, because it’s Haya’s second time winning. I thought it’d be nice if she could do the double, and that’s why I chose to keep her for this class. I have a great respect for her – she’s such a nice mare, in every way. She’s so careful, and just an incredible horse to have.”