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Only Fools on Horses chief instructor Tim Stockdale has proved he is no fool on a horse by winning the first international class at the Horse of the Year Show.

Partnering Fresh Direct Glenwood Springs Tim Stockdale led the Welcome Stakes from the beginning of the jump off after producing an unbeatable 32.10 clear. “It’s a nice way to start,” Stockdale told HHO afterwards, “a win is a win.”

Good challenges from Robert Bevis and Billy Twomey could not push Stockdale out of the lead but were good enough for second and third place with the USA’s Laura Kraut in fourth.

A total of 12 combinations made it through to the jump off – seven of them British. But as first to go Tim Stockdale and Fresh Direct Glenwood Springs produced a masterly clear round, the question was whether he would lead from start to finish.

Ben Maher, 26 and Eric Van der Vleuten both tried their luck in vain, clocking up slower times and knocking rails. Robert Whitaker and William Funnell, clearly saving their rides for later in the week, jumped steady clears without contesting Stockdale’s time.

According to Stockdale 18-year-old Fresh Direct Glenwood Springs is “a winner through and through. he helped me out in the first round, I didn’t ride it that well and it was a good job he was on the ball,” he admitted. “But in the second round everything went absolutely according to plan – he was spot on.”

Fresh Direct Glenwood Springs has now won over 80 speed classes and was second in the easibed Stakes at HOYS last year. “He’s always up for the top shows,” Stockdale explained. “He’s not a horse that wins at the smaller competitions.”