Anthony Condon takes the Grandstand Welcome Stakes
Anthony Condon continued the feelgood factor surrounding Irish showjumping by launching the Horse of the Year Show international classes in thrilling fashion. Anthony, an Irish Nations Cup rider who is based in Cheshire, won the Grandstand Welcome Stakes and its £3,300 top prize with Zira VH Kapelhof Z, clocking a lightning time of 40.98 seconds.
Drawn 27 of 29 starters, Anthony’s time clipped more than a second off the previous leader’s time – Frenchman Titouan Schumacher on Oceane de Nantuel – while Britain’s Louise Saywell finished third with Feigtling.
“It was a fast class,” Anthony said. “I saw some of the earlier horses go, so I knew how fast I had to go. She is naturally a fast horse anyway, and she helped me out a little but down the last line. I took a bit of a risk, but it paid off.”
A three-way tie in the Grandstand Media Five Fence Challenge
Horse of the Year Show spectators were treated to a bumper exhibition of world-class jumping as international competitions began at Birmingham’s Genting Arena. The Grandstand Media Five Fence Challenge features a course of five fences that increase in height with each round to a maximum of five. A fence down or refusal means horse and rider cannot compete any further.
A thrilling three-way tie ensued between British riders Holly Smith and Helen Tredwell, plus Irish star Shane Breen, who agreed between them to share the spoils after round four, a course that culminated in them jumping a fence of 1.80 metres (5ft, 11 inches).
“It was a great class,” Shane said. “I think we did the right thing to divide the prize. We’ve got two more days of jumping, so we wanted to leave something in the tank. I am delighted with my horse. It was his first show since Dublin in August, and he delivered a great performance.”
Miniature Horse of the Year Championship
There was nothing small about the amount of presence displayed by Hannah Bradley’s Ujeniks Dudes Sombrero as he took his lap of honour to reclaim the Miniature Horse of the Year Championship on day three of Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).
The five-year-old Skewbald gelding, by Lucky Four Classy Dude and out of Toyhorse Spanish Heart, won the title in 2014 and, on his first visit back to HOYS since, has done it again.
“I’m really chuffed,” said Hannah. “It was a massive class and there were lots of stallions in there as well.” She continued: “We’ve had a really good season and won a couple of HOYS qualifiers. He’s always a showman and really cheeky at home!”
National Pony Society/ Snuggy Hoods Working Hunter Pony of the Year Championship
Tinka’s Flash makes a triumphant return to claim the National Pony Society/Snuggy Hoods Working Hunter Pony of the Year Championship. You could hear a pin drop as Friday afternoon’s audience in the Andrews Bowen International Arena waited to hear who would be crowned National Pony Society/Snuggy Hoods Working Hunter Pony of the Year Champion. In the end it was the Intermediate winner, Hannah’s Sloan’s 15-year-old Chestnut gelding, Tinka’s Flash who rose triumphant after a sterling performance throughout the day.
By Croft Tinka’s Lad out of Bellinda, Tinkas Flash is no stranger to HOYS, having won the Intermediate section back in 2013 with Hannah’s brother Stuart.
“This is my third season on him,” said Hannah. “It’s a dream come true. He’d never jumped before we got him as a nine-year-old.”
Scottish teenager Shaunie Greig crowned the Leading Pony Showjumper of the Year
Scottish teenager Shaunie Greig claimed the biggest win in her career after landing the prestigious Leading Pony Showjumper of the Year title at the Horse of the Year Show. Shaunie, from Dunfermline in Fife, triumphed with Casino Royale VIII to land a class first contested in 1949, with previous winners including Michael Whitaker, William Whitaker and Louise Saywell.
Ten combinations qualified for the jump-off from 27 starters, including reigning champion Tixylix, a 19-year-old pony seeking its third win in the class following victories in 2010 and 2016. However, it was Shaunie who proved too consistent for the rest, clocking a time of 33.32 seconds, with Allana Clutterbuck and Sultan du Bary finishing second and Hannah Barker taking third with Amman Valley Santino.
A star is found in Mista Fezziwig, crowned the SEIB Search for a Star Champion
There’s always a brilliant excitement surrounding the SEIB Search for a Star classes at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS). It is, after all, a unique opportunity for amateur horses and riders to compete at this prestigious show, while seeking top tips from the very best in the industry. The classes are judged by Robert Oliver, Claire Oliver and Katie Jerram-Hunnable with commentary throughout.
Three days of competition across the Show Cobs, Working Show Horse/Pony, Riding Horse/Hack and Hunter classes culminated in the overall Championship where Lynsey Lawrence’s Hunter, Mista Fezziwig, took the top honours with the Riding Horse winner, Ellie Simmonds’ Hevans Forever in my Life, in Reserve.
Lynsey has had ‘Ralph’, as he is known at home, since a yearling and bought him straight from the breeders who were here today to watch.
“I couldn’t be happier,” she said. “I said today, ‘imagine what it would be like to ride down the centre line under the spotlight’ and then a few hours later, here we are! It’s incredible!”
View Point follows in his brother’s footsteps to claim the Catplant Group of Companies Ltd. Show Hunter of the Year Championship
Robert Walker was delighted to ride Jill Day’s Lightweight Show Hunter, View Point, to victory in the Catplant Group of Companies Ltd. Show Hunter of the Year Championship, two years after piloting the gelding’s brother, Vantage Point, to the same title at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) 2015.
By Loughahoe Guy out of Quality Dame, View Point is just six years old and was Champion Novice as a four and five-year-old at the British Show Horse Championships. His breeders were here tonight to watch him in action.
“He performed beyond his years in the arena tonight,” said Robert. “Two days ago when we arrived I thought maybe we had brought him a year too soon, but he’s just got better and better while he’s been here.”
Broadstone Dolce Vita crowned Cuddy Supreme In-Hand Championship
Broadstone Dolce Vita, William Moran and Pearl Underwood’s star mare, was tonight crowned the new Cuddy Supreme In-Hand Champion at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS). The 17-year-old mare now has one of the most prestigious and sought-after titles in the showing world to her name, following a prolific winning ridden career with Amy Underwood. She’s been with William for the last three years and together they have claimed numerous championship titles.
“I’ve been breeding for 25 years and it’s always been my dream to win the horse section of the Cuddy, let alone the Supreme!” He continued: “When I first saw her [Broadstone Dolce Vita], I thought, that’s good enough to win the Cuddy.”
John Whitaker takes the NAEC Stoneleigh Stakes
British master John Whitaker produced a vintage performance that showcased his magic on a memorable Friday night at the Horse of the Year Show.
The 62-year-old won the NAEC Stoneleigh Stakes on 15-year-old stallion Argento, claiming a victory that underlined his past experience as the jump-off riders were able to plot their own route in what they hoped would be the quickest time.
John clocked 29.07 seconds to take the top prize of £7,350, with Phillip Miller second aboard Roulette H, 42 hundredths of a second behind, and the Czech Republic’s Emma Augier De Moussac third on JCS Chacco.
“It took a bit of doing,” John said. “I worked it out in my mind, and I stuck to it and it paid off.
“It is always good to win. I still want to win and I still try to win. Argento is on good form, and he has been jumping really well for the past three months. I walked the course, and I thought it was quite good for me.”