It proved a great day at the office for the Walker stable on the opening day of the Horse of the Year Show as Party Time and Goldern Tasset took the top two places in the small hunter championship for Robert Walker and his wife Sarah.

Both horses are owned by Jill Day, and are Irish-bred by Tasset. Party Time made his debut in small hunter classes this season, and he remains unbeaten so far. “He is the happiest horse, and he certainly rose to the occasion tonight,” said Robert.

Class sponsor Pearl Underwood got the family’s week off to a great start when Utah headed the intermediate show hunter types for the second year running, putting in another foot-perfect performance for jockey Hannah Horton. The 10-year-old Voltaire gelding went on to finish fifth in the small hunters with producer Leon King.

Derek Morton gained his first ever HOYS win when June Snedker’s Keep Talking took the working hunter title. “This horse is an out and out jumper, and he was an absolute super star today,” said Derek.

HOYS Search for a star

It proved a busy first afternoon on this additional day at the LG Arena as the South Essex Insurance Brokers popular Search For A Star series got underway.

The first pair to book their ticket to Friday’s championship was Zoe Whittle and Lindsay Needham, owners and riders of winning riding horse Mettlewood Mr Fahrenheit, and hack Mortomley Twilight Jasper. The two horses were bought as unbroken three-year-olds, and both qualified at Osbaldeston EC in Lancashire.

The journey from South Wales proved well worthwhile for Paul Isaac who headed the cob section with his piebald six-year-old Rockstar.

Caroline Hawkins won the riding club show horse class with Kilcara Diamond. This 11-year-old mare has proved ultra versatile having dressage and eventing points to her credit, and show jumping winnings too.

Completing the first batch of finalists was Emma-Jane Meredith who stood top of the hunter section riding Debbie Charlesworth’s home-bred mare Exclusively Centrestage.

Follow our live coverage of Wednesday’s showing classes via H&H Live – click here to register

HOYS day one results

small hunter ( Mrs J Banks, Mr M Fitton). – 1 & 2, J Day’s Party Time & Goldern Tasset; 3, Y Cuddy’s Paddy Swan. Cuddy working hunter (Mrs J Banks, Mr M Fitton). – 1, J Snedker’s Keep Talking; 2, L Bell’s W Get Smart; 3, J Ainsworth’s Up Date. Int SHT (Capt A Varley, Mrs J Banks)– 1, P Underwood’s Utah; 2, V White & D Thomas’ Rustle of Spring; 3, D Lacey’s Halfmoon Bellavista SEIB Search For A Star (Mrs M Ramsay, Mr R Oliver, Mr D Bartram) cob.– 1, P Isaac’s Rockstar; 2, P Madely’s Banwy Charisma; 3, E Clarke’s The Hammerman. Riding Club show horse.– 1, C Hawkins’s Kilcara Diamond; 2, A Green’s Maximus Tiberius; 3, S Renouf’s Passe Partout. riding horse/hack.– 1 riding horse, Z Whittle’s Mettlewood Mr Fahrenheit; 1 hack, L Needham’s Mortomley Twilight Jasper; 2, E Brassy’s Count On Me; 3, J Laurie’s Bozley. hunter (Mrs R Ramsay, Mr R Oliver, Ms L Daly).– 1, D Charlesworth’s Exclusively Centrestage; 2, J Everett’s Sheer Ambition; 3, E Harries’s Stradey Hanna.