Pony team hopefuly Tom Tulloch, 14, won the Baileys Jumping & Style (JAS) novice and open titles with 14.2hh Spirit VI at Bury Farm Equestrian Centre in Bucks last Saturday (22 February).
Watch Tom’s winning open JAS 2014 round
Tom was also second in the novice on the attractive grey Welsh-Arab-Connemara Trewithian Bracken, owned by the Dixon family.
“I can’t believe it,” said Tom, who joked he rarely wins anything. “I don’t think it gets better than this. Spirit’s bravery and jump is incredible. I just have to believe in him.
“Going into the novice I felt a bit nervous, as the course was much more testing than the qualifiers, but both ponies jumped their socks off. I’m so lucky to ride such amazingly brave ponies.”
Tom completed both rounds on his style mark in the novice, making the influential left turn after the road closed bounce look easy. In the open, Spirit pecked just before the Jump 4 Joy double, taking the top pole, but that was the only dodgy moment for the pair, who were the sole partnership to complete the 1.15m track inside the time.
In addition to support from his parents, Andrew (clerk of the course at Aintree) and Jancis (who has evented to four-star), Tom is trained by Jonquil Hemming and Tracy Tomlinson.
Judge Yogi Breisner was clearly impressed, giving Tom style scores of nine in the novice and five in the open on his winning pony, who is co-owned by the Tullochs with Rob Marshall. The only other rider in these sections to score sub-10 for style was Kylie Roddy (nine in the open).
Yogi was full of praise for the winner: “Tom rode very well. He was effective, yet quiet and neat. His lower leg stayed in a very good position throughout,” he said.
Turn to page 44 in 27 February issue of Horse & Hound magazine for the full report