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Essex takes another victory in Hickstead’s International Arena

Taking a win in the main arena at the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting is always a great achievement, but doing so on an unfamiliar horse is even more impressive – and that’s exactly what Ronnie Jones did to secure the win in the Mochara 1.25m Open Championship earlier this week.

His winning ride came aboard the elegant grey Cruso J RS, who has been in Ronnie’s string for just a week. “It’s all quite unknown with him, but he just gets better and better, so we’ve got high hopes for him,” said Ronnie of the ten-year-old gelding, who he co-owns with partner Alex Bishop.

Today’s ride was something of a fact-finding mission with the horse, who stepped up to the plate despite being faced with an unknown arena and some tricky obstacles he’d never previously seen.

“It was his first time in the main arena, so I wasn’t sure how he was going to react, but he was really good. I was a little bit worried about jumping the wall, because he hasn’t seen one of those either, but he didn’t bat an eyelid at it. He got in a really nice rhythm, and he’s really careful, so I was able to just trust him to the last.”

Cruso J RS is a grandson of the famous showjumping stallion Cornet Obolensky, who was recently at the centre of a high-stakes evacuation from Ukraine, where he stands at stud – and Ronnie is certain that that’s where his horse’s character and competitive spirit comes from. “He’s quite quirky – quite hot-headed and opinionated, but he just wants to win,” says Ronnie.

The Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting takes place at Hickstead, West Sussex, from 23rd-26th June.

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