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Back-to-Back Grantham Cup Wins for King
March 30, 2024

Good weather, great sport and a record-breaking crowd were the name of the game for Easter Saturday at the Eventing Spring Carnival, at Thoresby Park.

In the history of the Lycetts Grantham Cup never before has a horse and rider combination delivered back-to-back wins, until today. Emily King and Valmy Biats delivered a near perfect three phases to retain their crown, alongside the Polly Phillips Memorial Trophy.

“He was unreal” exclaimed a jubilant King. “I’m so proud of how Valmy performed here he felt amazing.”

“It was the smoothest, easiest, in sync one [cross-country round] I think I’ve ever had with him.  He’s quite lairy and really brave and strong and you have to really set up for everything and think so much.  I set out and had it all planned what I needed to do everywhere, and I sort of didn’t need to, he was doing it on his own and I was like God this is nice, and I could let him gallop.  He was just really in sync and lovely so hopefully if we carry on like that, he will be lush.”

Speaking of their Thoresby dominance King paid tribute to how Valmy enjoys living out and working in all weather conditions, which leaves them well suited to early season ground conditions.

“We’ve had a tough spring, and the going was sticky out there, but it was fine.  We had to look after them in certain places, but there were parts of it where we could really let them flow, which for the big picture of the Spring it acts as such a great prep run.”

Awarding the Polly Phillips Memorial trophy once again to King and Valmy Biats, Vere Phillips referred to his surprise that the pair had not yet received their call up to the Senior British team, a nod to the selectors ahead of this year’s Paris Olympics.

Delivering the fastest round of the Grantham Cup, was Ireland’s 5-star winning Austin O’Connor and Colorado Blue.  The combination has been regarded as one of the most consistent, and fastest, jumpers in any field over recent seasons and didn’t disappoint the onlooking Easter crowds.

“it’s been great to come out off the back of Maryland to a proper event and have a good run around a proper cross-country, and what Thoresby brings is what we call proper eventing, true eventing, and I think we’ve got to be very mindful that we don’t lose this element of the sport.

It was a true four-star, and I’m sure the results from the results page will tell that story. And rightly so hats off to Stuart Buntine and his team, to me they put on a world class show, so thank you to them!”

Rounding out the top three was Yasmin Ingham and world championship winning partner Banzai Du Loir, following a steadier ride across the country.

“He did a lovely test yesterday and then jumped a great, quick clear round today. He was trying really hard for me. With him, there’s a bigger picture this year, and it’s always building up to that point. It’s all about progression, and about building the confidence together. It’s early doors, but I’m delighted — it’s been a really good weekend.”

“All the jumping was brilliant; it was a very testing track, with lots of interesting questions, and lots of new questions that we haven’t seen before.”

“It was actually nice to have a bit of a mix-up and a bit of a head scratcher. There were lots of options everywhere, so you could do whatever suited your horse and really ride what’s underneath you.”