Jude Burgess and the seven-year-old gelding Carvelo Z were crowned the new Horse & Hound Foxhunter champions at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) on Thursday (9 October).

This year’s final proved to be one of the strongest ever with a quality field of eight battling it out against the clock in a bid to win this prestigious title.

But it was the Kent rider Jude who triumphed by nearly 1sec from last-drawn Geoff Luckett with another seven-year-old Cavant, with Nicole Pavitt third on Contessa IV.

“I thought I had a good chance but I expect a lot of people here tonight fancied their chances, too,” said Jude, who found this son of Carthago Z as a three-year-old at Brightwells Auction.

“He’s a quick horse and super-careful, quick in a jump-off, so you’ve just got to hope for a bit of luck on the day and everything came off.

“I knew Nicole and Geoff were coming after me and they’re very quick riders so I knew I had to go in to the lead and put enough pressure on those too.”

Geoff was left rueing the fact he didn’t take out a stride to the final oxer from last draw.

“It was hero or zero and the Foxhunter is the one you want to win,” said the runner-up rider, who has only been riding Patricia Squibb’s quality Dutch Warmblood for a couple of months.

Don’t miss the full report and interview with the winning rider as part of the bumper special HOYS report in next week’s Horse & Hound (out 16 October).