Zoe Gibson claimed her fourth Melton Hunt Club Ride on Sunday (16 November) — finishing a field ahead of the rest of the 24 finishers on her 2012 winner Jaffa.

The ride, which took place on a foggy morning in the heart of Cottesmore Hunt country, is run over two miles and was first held in 1956.

Up until the morning of the race, Zoe had planned to ride her multiple winner of the Harborough Hunts Club Ride, Tempo, but decided he felt a “bit flat” and brushed the mud off Jaffa, a nine-year-old by Carroll House, instead.

“He was mega today; I just switched him on and off we went,” said Zoe.

The Gibson domination of the annual race looks set to continue with Zoe’s 17-year-old daughter Harriet finishing third on Woody — two places better than their debut last year.

Melton Hunt Ride 15 11 2014“I went very wide over the first two fences to keep out of trouble and lost a lot of ground there, but I just wanted a really nice ride,” said Harriet.

“I had to slow to a trot three strides out from Gibsons Gully [a big hedge with ditch towards sponsored by the Gibson family] because someone tripped and fell just before it, and Woody was amazing to go when I kicked him.”

In second place was Heather Moodie, who runs a hunter dealing and livery business in the Heythrop country.

With a high-quality field of 38 starters (pictured above right on their way to the start), the line up was as good as ever. Competing in the race for the first time in 10 years was Rowan Cope, joint-master of the Pytchley, who was in contention on ex-chase Wedger Pardy when taken out at the seventh fence but carried on to finish fifth overall.

For a full report and results of this year’s race, don’t miss this week’s issue of H&H, on sale Thursday 20 November.