STONEDGE, a makeweight in the lorry carrying his stable companion Watts Burn to the latest round of the FEI Nations Cup at Strzegom in Poland, has returned with a victory in a CCI three-star competition – on his first attempt at that level.

His rider, the Kemble-based international Nicky Roncoroni was understandably delighted to gain such an unexpected win with her up-and-coming grey in an event that ran alongside the Nations Cup.

“It certainly made the journey back feel a lot easier,” said Nicky, who drove through Poland, Germany, Holland, Belgium and France before boarding the ferry back to the UK in Calais and arriving some 24 hours after setting off.

“Max (Stonedge) was only 10th after the dressage but jumped a lovely double clear over a tough and technical cross country course and in the show jumping arena to come out on top,” said Nicky. “It was a long way to go but certainly worth it.”

Team GB – Roncoroni, Sarah Bullimore, Ros Canter and Katy Hurst – finished an excellent second behind the might of Germany’s full London Olympic squad to maintain a healthy lead in the season-long Nations Cup standings as they bid to retain the title.

“It did not help that the box carrying Katy and Ros broke down in Rotterdam and they had less time to prepare after arriving late,” said Nicky. "So to perform so well after that was amazing."

Roncoroni’s Watts Burn, whose participation in the prestigious event was partly educational, had the worst GB score so his points did not count in the competition but his rider feels it was a worthwhile exercise.

“He had never competed in a CIC three-star before and was the rookie of team.

One of the other British representatives had competed in four four-star events. But he acquitted himself very well.

“I am even more convinced that both horses will become top class advanced horses – they will both learn a lot from the trip. You just can’t gain that kind of experience at home.”

Team manager Philip Surl said: “It definitely ranks up there as one of our best Nations Cup performances to date against a very strong German team.”

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