In an emotionally charged hunter championship, Robert Walker clinched the title riding Jill Day’s winning middleweight Pride and Joy on the opening day of the Horse of the Year Show.

This accolade came just 24hrs after Robert earned the Showing Council/Showing World show rider of the year award, and although the Cheshire rider is still fighting his way back to full fitness following a virus, Pride and Joy carried his rider at every pace with impeccable manners.

“This is what I have been aiming for,” said Robert.

Taking the reserve, was Robert Oliver riding Bernie White’s Royal International champion Loughkeen Dancing Lord. Also giving a good account of themselves were the lightweight winners Katie Jerram and Dunbeacon.

The popular SEIB Search For A Star Series got underway with the combined riding horse and hack class, which saw Patricia Saxby and Zahra Clark gain entry in Friday’s final.

Patricia headed the riding horse section riding Play It Cool, a seven-year-old bay gelding who had previously evented up to intermediate level.

“This was a lovely elegant horse who moved well, and presented a very nice picture,” said Marjorie Ramsay.

Catching the eye of the judges in the hack division, was Zahra Clark riding the French bred Billy Whizz. The seven-year-old gelding has had a tremendous debut season in Retraining of Racehorses classes.

“I look forward to starting him in some early novice hack classes next season” said Zahra.

Joanne Chubb and Zinidan gave a brilliant performance to win the SEIB riding club show horse final. Previously hunted and show jumped, Zinidan has now successfully added showing to his CV.

“A very efficient combination” said Marjorie Ramsay.

The cob sections proved one of the strongest throughout the qualifying rounds, and Northern entries took the top honours in the final, Lancashire rider Joanne Dewhurst’s 10-year-old skewbaled Funky Munky standing top, ahead of Wendy Johnson-Taylor riding Francesca Wood’s Wide Load.

Results

TopSpec hunter (C McGrann, K Barley) lwt. 1, J Jerram’s Dunbeacon; 2, J Webber’s Kings Road; 3, P Bowdler’s Sutton Place. mwt. 1 & ch, J Day’s Pride and Joy; 2, J Jerram’s Woodfield Indo; 3, H Rodgers’ District Court. hwt. 1 & res, B White’s Loughkeen Dancing Lord; 2, C Bardo’s Silverstream; 3, L Holt’s Act Flyn Lad. SEIB Search for a Star (R Oliver, C Oliver, M Ramsay) cob. 1, J Dewhurst’s Funky Munky; 2, F Woods’ Wide Load; 3, D Cox’s Killinare Lad. riding club show horse. 1, J Gubb’s Zinidan; 2, P Hunt’s Ballyhaise; 3, K Hayward’s Nobelle Clover. riding horse/hack. 1, Z Clark’s Billy Whizz (hack); 1, P Saxby’s Play It Cool (riding horse); 2, L Lloyd’s Jemoon Flying Officer.

Stay in touch with all the action from HOYS on Horseandhound.co.uk throughout the show, and don’t miss H&H’s special report, on sale Thursday 14 October