HOYS DAY 4 - SCARLETT CHARLES FOLLOWS IN FATHER'S FOOTSTEPS & TAGG PUISSANCE RAISES THE ROOF!
Saturday 06 October 2012
After five rounds of edge-of-the-seat action and heart-stopping thrills, Michael Londsdale (Loughnatousa WB) and Peter Murphy (Renkum Off Centre) shared first place in the awesome Tagg Puissance. Not one seat in the Andrews Bowen International Arena was empty and a party atmosphere filled the air as the crowd cheered the competitors over the big red wall.
Of the 12 combinations who started over the infamous obstacle, just Peter and Michael remained to go head-to-head, facing a height to clear of 7ft2in. Both had already cleared 7ft in round four, but Peter’s warm up preparations went a little awry, adding to the tension.
“My horse doesn’t really like people and other horses coming towards him and it got very busy in the collecting ring [as the horses of knocked out riders were being led out],” Peter explained. “We were coming towards the practice fence and he just stopped. He never stops, so it took me by surprise and I came off.”
Both Peter and his horse were fine and set off to tackle the wall for a final time. It looked like the pairing was about to gain another faultless performance, but they gently dragged the two top bricks from top.
Michael and Loughnatousa WB, who won this year’s Hickstead Derby with Irish rider Paul Beecher, suffered the same fate, so the top prize was shared between the two Saturday night heroes.
“It’s unbelievable to win here,” said Michael. “This evening’s atmosphere was just amazing.”
The Irish contingent had a fine day in the international classes and for Shane Breen a win in The Accumulator with Balloon also gained enough points to guarantee a place in the Leading ShowJumper of the Year Grand Prix on Sunday.
“I knew I needed to finish in the top six in this class to get into the class on Sunday,” said Shane. “The class had great prize money, so it got very competitive. But he jumped great and to win at Horse of the Year Show is just incredible.”
Fellow countryman Billy Twomey scored his win for the Emerald Isle in The Thistledown Stakes with Wings Sublime, beating off seven rivals in the jump-off.
The HorseRadar.co.uk 128cm Championship title remains firmly within the Charles family after Scarlett, 11, took the Championship her older brother Harry claimed last year. The daughter of Olympic gold medallist Peter Charles couldn’t have had a better debut at Horse of the Year Show. She took the top two places in the competitive jump-off finishing first with Murka’s Mathew’s Girl and also second with Murka’s Flinor Songbird.
Proud father Peter, who has been signing autographs in the Retail Village for fans and has another signing session on Sunday with team-mate Scott Brash, was overjoyed with his daughter’s performance.
“You just can’t describe what it’s like being here, watching your children in that atmosphere,” he said. “You really have to experience it for yourself.”
It’s been a rather good show so far for Scottish competitors, with Olympic gold medallist Scott Brash and pony rider Jodie Crawford both claiming wins earlier in the week. Graham Babes added to that tally with a win in the 138cm Championship, riding Alfie III.
“The cheers from the crowd make winning here extra special,” said Graham. “It’s really very exciting to be here.”
Louise Pavitt has had numerous wins for the Brendon Stud at HOYS during her career and today she added the Six-Year-Old Championship to her string of successes in fine style with Sussex Caretino. Well known for her speedy riding – just like her sister Nicole, who won the EquestrianClearance.com Senior Newcomers on Wednesday – Louise certainly didn’t disappoint, beating her nearest rival by a whopping five seconds.
One of the most roof-raising finals at Horse of the Year Show is the Osborne Refrigerators Double Harness Scurry of the Year Championship, and this year was no different. The 10 finalists sped their ponies and carriages around the Andrews Bowen International Arena sending sand flying and hearts racing.
They say “the louder you cheer the faster they go” and that was certainly the case as the packed house stomped their feet, screamed and willed the ponies and their drivers on. But quickest of them all was Jemma Millman with Eeyore and Piglet, who reclaimed the title for a third time, after last winning in 2009 with Pooh Beah and Piglet.
“I’d been quick all week, but was knocking balls off cones [gaining time penalties,” said Jemma. “Tonight I just tried to keep it up and it all worked to plan.”
There is still one day of action to come here at Horse of the Year Show, with international show jumping and the finals of the most highly regarded national showing and showjumping championships. Each day spectators can look forward to a performance of this year’s exclusive new display The Final Charge by Atkinson Action Horses, the Equimax Pony Club Mounted Games and the Osborne Refrigerators Celebrity Hurry Scurry, as well as the Think Like a Pony Interactive Feature Area and the famous HOYS Retail Village.
For show information, including the full show timetable and timings, and to book, visit www.hoys.co.uk or call 0844 581 8282.