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Geoff Luckett claimed the Dick Turpin Stakes at the Horse of the Year Show this morning, riding his girlfriend’s horse Compliment 2. Within the first 10min of the £3,460 one-round international competition, Luckett and Compliment 2 produced a 56.29 sec clear round. “I thought Robert Maguire might go faster,” he said afterwards, “so I sat and watched the whole class.”

But in the end Luckett’s score set an unobtainable target. Maguire clocked up eight penalties with Two Mills Showtime and an unlucky William Whitaker knocked the last fence. At the halfway stage Eric van der Vleuten from the Netherlands had produced a steady 65.19 sec clear round but there had been no other serious threats to Luckett’s lead.

Then William Funnell and Cortaflex Machiavelli entered the arena at a cracking pace and as they sailed over the fences, it seemed possible they could take the lead. But despite a heroic effort, their time was still over a second slower than Luckett’s, and only good enough for second position.

Ireland’s Billy Twomey and Egypt’s Abdel Said, making his debut HOYS appearance, also jumped clear but failed to threaten Luckett’s lead. Ultimately it was left to Ben Maher, last to jump, to knock Luckett from pole position but an unfortunate eight penalties pushed him out of contention.

“He’s a lovely horse,” Luckett said of Compliment 2 afterwards, “A top class amateur horse.” He borrows him off his girlfriend Claire Beacroft “whenever she will let me” but has so far competed him at only four shows. Their results have been impressive: third in the British Speed Stakes at the British Open and third in the Speed Stakes at the Blue Chip Winter Championships. Originally from Germany, Compliment used to be a dressage horse; “I really enjoy working him,” Luckett added.

Luckett, who first competed at HOYS 30 years ago, will be back in the international arena at the Birmingham NEC with Compliment 2 this evening and afterwards will decide whether to aim him at Sunday’s Grand Prix.

Results

1. Geoff Luckett (GBR) Compliment 2
2. William Funnell (GBR) Cortaflex Machiavelli
3. Billy Twomey (IRL) Wertherroschen
4. Abdel Said (EGY) Team Harmony Sky-High
5. William Whitaker (GBR) Carnaval Path