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Louise Whitaker opened this year’s HOYS with victory in the national A4 class on her mother Clare’s Mollegaardens Ballerina.

The class, one of two open to British riders who have not qualified for the international classes, proved interesting to the end. Louise and the black Danish-bred mare overtook Mennell Watson’s standard-setter on Gitan D’Incoville, with young rider Ryan Prater moving into third on Otage.

Experience won the day in the Norton Heath Newcomers when Warren Clarke and Angelina — tipped by H&H columnist Graham Fletcher — lived up to their billing. The home-bred mare by Animo produced a fantastic round from first draw of 11 and proved too good for her rivals, led home by young Nicole Pavitt on Amaryllis.

The first junior title, the Squibb and Davies Foxhunter, went to Bury St Edmunds-based Claire Bailey, whose double clear on her home-produced seven-year-old grey, Who’s Bob, was good enough to beat her sole jump-off rivals, Christy Kemp and Funfair.