The hunt race season kicked off on Sunday (19 November), with Zoe Gibson winning the 8 Outdoor Melton Hunt Club Ride in Leicestershire and Yvonne Goss taking the Daylesford Hunt Cup in Gloucestershire.
Zoe, who was riding her own Jaffa, a thoroughbred she bought in Ireland as a four-year-old, has now won the Melton race five times.
Second was Ollie Finnegan, riding Rivage D’Or, and third was Jack Quinlan (Easter Meteor). Full report in Horse & Hound magazine, on sale Thursday 23 November.
The Daylesford Hunt Cup, held on Sir Anthony and Lady Bamford’s Daylesford estate in the Heythrop country, is now in its second year. Three races were run over a course of rails and newly laid hedges, designed by Daylesford “countryman” George Hyatt.
Yvonne Goss won the open race, also riding a horse called Jaffa. The pair were fresh and fit after an autumn team chasing campaign and they held off Pandora Bailey on ex-racehorse Offshore Account. Iona Hoare came third and won the best Heythrop prize. Retraining of Racehorses sponsored prizes for the good number of ex-racehorses that competed.
“The course gave a great ride and the cup is amazing!” said Yvonne. “I must remember to add it to the house insurance!”
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The intermediate class was won by another team chaser, the Hair Raisers’ Larry Brown, ahead of Amber Bradshaw. The best Heythrop trophy went to third-placed Jessica Fleming, who runs Red Barn Stud near Northleach.
Rory Richmond-Watson took the junior cup, which was judged on hunting etiquette by John and Jane LLoyd, over whose land part of the course ran. Not only did he ride really well and competitively to come in fourth behind Isla Hughes, but he also thanked the “field master” for the race, Emily Seal, daughter of Heythrop Saturday field master Nick Seal.
There were 70 entries in total for this new raceday, organised by Heythrop Tuesday field master Tom Gittins. As the hedges mature and the course develops, it will become an exciting addition to the hunt race calendar.
For all the latest hunting news and reports, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday.