Fourteen-year-old Robert Murphy took the honours in the Leading Pony Showjumper of the Year riding Rainbows Mocha at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) this afternoon (Thursday 8 October) emulating his father Peter’s win in the same class 30 years ago.

As the penultimate pair in the eight-rider final round, they produced a speedy jump-off fending off Jessica Hewitt by 0.68 of a second. Jessica, who was partnering Amman Valley Santino – with whom she won team gold at the pony Europeans this summer – lay down the gauntlet having been first to go. Their round could not be matched until Robert took all the risks required with the scopey and fast nine-year-old mare.

 

“I’ve been coming to HOYS for six years and this is my first big win here. I did take some risks in the jump-off, the arena rode quite tight and there were some short distances,” said Robert, who has taken two days off school to attend the Birmingham show, but will be back in the classroom tomorrow morning.

The youngster had two rides in the class – he also got through to the jump-off aboard Newtown Samson but they picked up an unlucky four faults.

“Both ponies had a good chance and Jess [Hewitt] is always fast, she is hard to beat. My mare [Rainbows Mocha] is careful, which means she does sometimes back off,” he added. The daughter of Baloubet Du Rouet won the Pony Foxhunter Championships last year with previous jockey Faye Adams.

Third place went to Scarlett Charles riding her father Peter’s 17-year-old gelding Aroldo, who produced the only other clear in the final round.

The eight combinations who went through to the jump-off made nothing of the 1.45m track but a big multicoloured oxer off the corner at fence four caught out a handful of riders. Both Drew Walton (Tequila Twist) and Emma Crawford (Maximus Gladiator) experienced falls here.

Don’t miss the full report from Horse of the Year Show in next week’s Horse & Hound, on sale 15 October.