Tina Fletcher and Ellen Whitaker, two of Britain’s top female showjumpers, tied for first after five rounds over the puissance wall at HOYS.
This was Ellen and the exuberant grey mare Ladina B’s ninth puissance victory, but for Tina, who made the decision to enter the class on Promised Land at the show, it was her first.
“I’ve only jumped in a few,” said Tina. “He’s so brave I know he’ll never stop and he really felt like he was enjoying it.”
After four rounds, four of the 13 starters remained. Tina went first and her Hickstead Derby runner-up cleared the wall easily. Ellen followed and Ladina B jumped the wall, standing at 7ft 2in, more smoothly than she had in some of the preceding rounds to join Tina at the top of the line.
Both Phillip Miller (Loughnatousa WB) and Angie Thompson (Oksana W) toppled the top bricks to share third.
Despite Mullaghdrin Gold Rain locking on and almost jumping a fence backwards during a tight turn, Shane Breen gained the top spot in the accumulator, a Rolex world rankings class, with one of his customary speedy rounds.
“He’s a great horse to have on the lorry,” said Shane. “He’s the type you don’t have to think about flying round on because he’s already going that fast anyway.”
Belgium’s Rik Hemeryck, a HOYS first-timer, headed the Dennis Fisher memorial cup after a late charge on Papillon Z. In this class, the final fence, angled seven strides from an oxer, fell again and again, but Rik decided to take a different approach.
“I saw a lot of riders were going to the left-hand side of it and it kept falling,” said Rik. “So I went much wider to get a straighter line, which worked.”
Rik celebrated beating wildcard rider Jemma Kirk’s time on Wexford by swinging his hat around and punching the air towards the audience.
“When you get the opportunity to come to a show like this, you have to take it,” he said. “The crowd are amazing. They are just as pleased as you are that you’ve won. It’s so nice to ride in front of so many people.”
Louise Pavitt rode The Brendon Stud’s Don VHP Z to victory in the six-year-old championship.
“He does cover the ground, so he’s quicker than he looks,” said Louise, who partnered the stallion to victory in the Walwyn novice championship at Royal Windsor this year. “And every time I made I turn I had a stride.”
The winners of both the 128cm and 138cm also took second place in their finals. Jessica Hewitt headed the smaller pony championship with Pendini, taking the runner-up spot with Rapidash II, while Darby Ward topped the 138cm with My Bugsy Malone. She’d already secured the win with Oakhurst In The Spotlight, but, with nothing to lose, went for a faster round on My Bugsy Malone and got it.
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