Two untouchable combinations stood champion and reserve in the Polly Coles supreme amateur hunter championship at the 2021 Royal International Horse Show, as well as the home-produced equivalent, producing a mirror image result of the amateur championship held at Royal Windsor earlier in the month.
Both came through from the lightweight division. Leading rider was Lucy Lockword aboard her own nine-year-old Chantilly Bojangles, while reserve went to Camilla Stowell Davies and her own eight-year-old Glenkeeran Dance In The Deep.
Both are true home-producers; Lucy works in her family’s finance business and has recently started a business with her partner and Camilla is a chartered accountant.
Claudine (Cleo) O’connor rode her own heavyweight hunter Vision Impossible (Sam) to win their amateur class, giving software company secretary Cleo her first RIHS title.
The Classic Vision 12-year-old was found in Ireland by the late Rory Gilsenan’s brother, Donal, in Ireland and was produced by Rory up the working hunter ranks, achieving a seventh at HOYS during their time together. Cleo had horses with Rory for 20 years.
“When Rory passed I didn’t want to do it anymore and was going to give it all up,” she said. “A lot of people told me not to, and I’m so glad I listened to them.”
Irish Draught Sam is now based with Helen and Jason Newbold, who have been “instrumental” in getting Cleo back into the ring.
“They’ve been so supportive, empathetic and encouraging,” she added. “Prior to this season, I hadn’t won anything with Sam but he’s come into his own. We’ve won a Horse of the Year Show heavyweight qualifier and I’ve never ridden in so many championships in my life. To think I was going to give it all up, too.”
Second to Cleo and Sam in the amateur heavies was Jane Collins — another former client of Rorys — and five-year-old Dowdstown Purple.
“It’s been the first RIHS without Rory here and he was definitely watching over us today,” said Cleo.
Amy Jones took the small hunter class with her own 11-year-old Noble Kings Speech, while best of the middleweights was another 11-year-old, Chadwick Spartanwood, ridden by Charlotte Massey-Dales.
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