The Vinopolis Classic at the Horse of the Year Show 2007 (HOYS) was dominated by chestnut mares and saw the first win for the visiting riders.

Ireland’s Cian O’Connor and his versatile Irish Independent Echo Beach reduced the good standard set by 19-year-old Dutchman Maikel van der Vleuten with Audi’s Naomi. William Funnell was the best of the Brits in third on Cortaflex Amber Du Montois.

Echo Beach is as happy in a Nations Cup as she was in this speed class.

“She can go fast and jump big fences, which is exactly what you need in a horse,” said Cian.

William and Amber improved two places in the Dick Turpin Speed Stakes. They started off relatively steadily, then built up the pace, and a storming gallop down the final line took the honours from Tim Stockdale on Roland by more than 2sec.

“Amber’s a good old mare and she enjoys a class like that now than again,” said William.

Jessie Drea took the Blue Chip Junior Newcomers honours back to Sussex with a super jump-off round on Fermali’s Silke. The six-year-old was extremely green — “I kept kicking and she wasn’t sure what I wanted her to do,” said Jessie — but she kept clearing the fences to give her 15-year-old rider her first ever HOYS win.

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