Lucy Townley takes the Walwyn Novice Championship crown at Royal Windsor Horse Show

Friday 03 May 2024

Lucy Townley takes the Walwyn Novice Championship crown at Royal Windsor Horse Show

Lucy Townley realised an ambition and claimed victory from the front in the prestigious Walwyn Novice Jumping Championship with the British-bred Billy At Last on the first day of Royal Windsor Horse Show.

“It’s been a long-time goal of mine to win the Walwyn Novice Championship at Royal Windsor, the arena is so special to ride on,” said Lucy.

Twelve of the top six-year-olds qualified for this final from the early morning’s 98-strong Foxhunter with an on-form Lucy not only taking two Billy Stud-bred horses into the final, but also the jump-off.  

“This year I had two exceptional mares that we all think a lot of at The Billy Stud, so when they both jumped clear in the first round, I set a plan for the jump-off with the help of the team [from Billy Stud] and did my best to execute it,” added Lucy.

Five of these quality young horses coped well with the atmosphere of the Castle Arena to jump clear over the 11-fence 1.30m track and qualify for the jump-off, Lucy using her opening round to set a competitive target on the Cevin Z x Lux mare.

“I knew I had to be fast as there were some good combinations to come after me in the jump-off,” said Lucy. “Billy At Last is naturally fast and as first to go, I knew I had to set a good pace and she answered every question. She’s a real athlete with a great brain and is always trying her best for me.”

Lucy steered second ride Billy Mojito (Billy Tudor x Dutch Capitol) behind At Last and it appeared she would rule the roost.

“She was bought by my Aunt Lizzie Bunn as a four-year-old in The Billy Stud Auction and is an impressive jumper, a very intelligent mare with a bright future ahead.  She jumped fantastic today; it was a great experience for them to jump around the main arena at Windsor,” concluded Lucy. 

It’s not over until the final rider, and this one has a fearsome reputation against the clock.  A determined Nicole Lockhead Anderson, winner of this class last year on Quanthargos PS, was out to defend her title robustly and chased the time with Tom Williams’ Diagolda PS (Diaron x Kannan).  She wasn’t quite quick enough, splitting Lucy’s two for second place, only 0.30 seconds in arrears of the winning time.  

Nicole left no-one in any doubt as to her winning intentions in the LeMieux National 1.40m. Forty-seven competitors came forward over the 12-fence single-phase course with Nicole finding the shortest route on Tom Williams’ Mecoblue PS (Messenger x Chacco-Blue).

Ronnie Jones set the pace on Kaleche but had to settle for second place when Nicole, in typically sizzling style, hit top gear and dared the scopey Mecoblue, taking a flyer to the last to overtake Ronnie and win with 0.70 seconds to spare. Lottie Tutt filled third riding Billy Olga.

“He’s very, very talented and finds the big jumps so easy,” said Nicole.  “I didn’t see Ronnie’s round but [owner] Tom said he was fast and he [Mecoblue] has such a big stride and is so scopey, I used it to my advantage.”

Nicole has ridden the impressive German-bred eight-year-old for the past 18 months.

“He’s a cheeky monkey, he can be shy but then his real character comes out; he’s the yard favourite and gives you the feeling he could jump anything – he’s one for the top of the sport,” added Nicole.

“He jumped at the World Breeding Championships in Lanaken last year and competed on the Sunshine Tour in Spain at the beginning of this year.  He won the Ladies Invitational in the final week and we’d started him in a few 1.50m classes – he found it all so easy, he’s really coming into his own.  He’s so straightforward and loves the jumping job, he’s a very happy horse.  I’m so lucky for Tom’s continued support and for being able to jump at such fantastic shows like Windsor.”

Royal Windsor Horse Show – 2 May, 2024
Walwyn Novice Jumping Championship

1st Lucy Townley & Billy At Last – 0/0 - 38.55 seconds
2nd Nicole Lockhead Anderson & Diagolda PS – 0/0 - 38.85 seconds
3rd Lucy Townley & Billy Mojito – 0/0 39.79 seconds

Lemieux National 1.40m

1st Nicole Lockhead Anderson & Mecoblue PS – 0/0 - 31.97 seconds
2nd Ronnie Jones & Kaleche – 0/0 - 32.76 seconds
3rd Lottie Tutt & Billy Olga – 0/0 - 34.80 seconds

 

Image: Peter Nixon /  Royal Windsor Horse Show

 
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