Robert Walker picked up his second winner of the 2008 Horse of the Year Show on Thursday. The Cheshire-based rider and producer successfully defended his 2007 hack title riding Silent Words.

Despite lacking match practice following an injury to his back sustained at The Royal Show, Carmen Gridley’s six-year-old bay gelding combined manners, movement and presence to head his small division en-route to clinching the tricolour.

“I thought he might have been a bit ring rusty, but he was so relaxed all the way through,” said Robert. Taking the reserve was Sarah Carey riding her second placed small hack, Stanley Grange Eclipse.

Another to retain their Horse of the Year Show crown were Shelley Perham and Tommy III. They repeated their 2007 success in the Mobile Phones 4 Business ladies hunter of the year class.

Tommy III has certainly been in great form this season; Pearl Underwood’s 10-year-old bay gelding won five qualifiers during the summer. “His ride has always been superb, but this season he’s gone better than ever,” said Shelley.

The SEIB Search for a Star series gathered momentum, with four more hopefuls winning places in today’s (Friday) final. Karen Black’s Sudden Imprint-sired five-year-old Beckside Step Lightly headed the show pony division for Franscessca Walmsley.

Also going through was Kristie Short riding her mother Kim’s Chinook Paprika, who topped the show hunter pony section. A winner of three classes at the Ponies UK championships this season, the Colbeach Splendour six-year-old was described by his owner as “a rosette machine”.

Angela Stephenson’s Dexter was the choice of Marjorie Ramsay, Robert Oliver and ride judge Claire Oliver to take the top hack award. Formerly evented by the late Sherelle Duke, the 14-year-old bay gelding also competes in racehorse to riding horse classes. Heading the riding horse section was Sue Collins’s six-year-old Tristan H, who was ridden by Imogen Yates.

Claire Oliver claimed the SEIB racehorse to riding horse championship riding Sarah Hartland’s Another Man. Described as the ideal pleasure horse by his owner, the mannerly grey gelding has been a winner at Windsor and The Royal this season.

Stay in touch with all the news from HOYS on Horseandhound.co.uk throughout the show, and don’t miss next Thursday H&H for our special HOYS report including fantastic photos and expert commentary

HOYS results Thursday 9 October

Garrick small hack of the year (D Whiteman & L Killingbeck) – 1 & ch, Carmen Gridley’s Silent Words II; 2 & res, S Carey’s Stanley Grange Eclipse; 3, M Jarnet’s Pendley Sir Gayle.

Philip Judge International large hack of the year – 1, A Wimbourne’s Opium Casa Leona; 2, G Beal’s True Blue II; 3, S & H Broom’s Paschal High Flyer.

Mobile Phones 4 Business Ladies hunter of the year (S Waddilove & C MacMahon) – 1, P Underwood’s Tommy III; 2, P & N Moon’s Time Lord IV; 3, A Newell’s Alice XVII.

SEIB Search for a star hack – 1, A Stepenson’s Dexter. SEIB riding horse – 1, S Collins’s Tristan H. SEIB show pony – 1, K Black’s Beckside Step Lightly. SEIB show hunter pony – 1, K Short’s Chinook Paprika.

SEIB racehorse to riding horse championship – 1, S Hartland’s Another Man; 2, C Bardo’s Shahzan House; 3, C Salisbury’s Mickey Croke.

www.hoys.co.uk