‘Fake it till you make it’: rider’s delight as Covid buy scores first international Hickstead win

  • “Fake it till you make it!” is the advice of Jay Halim, who scored his first ever international win in Hickstead’s main arena; his first victory in that ring since he took the 1m championship last September.

    Winning Moon and Jay won the Prenetics July Stakes yesterday (23 July) at the Royal International Horse Show.

    Winning Moon came to Jay at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and was “tricky” to start with but is coming into her form now to take the win from 70 starters.

    Eventer Gemma Tattersall had set an early lead in the two-phase class, on MGH Candy Girl, but Jay, a former eventer, took a second and a half off her time, and then held his lead for 40 riders, with Gemma taking second place.

    “To be honest, I genuinely came out and thought I’d be second or third,” he said. “I could have been tighter to the red double, which was three from home, but the mare is really fast and covers the ground naturally. She’s got a big step; it’s quite deceptive, because she’s a smaller horse.”

    Jay and Winning Moon achieved a second place at Bolesworth International this month; the mare is becoming consistent now and is ready to step up.

    “I’m really excited about that,” he said. “I’m missing a couple of horses here. I haven’t brought my good horse, Aragon Z, which is really frustrating because I’ve had my eye on the Queen Elizabeth for a long time.

    “My next horse down from that would maybe be a bit green at that level, so we have to be a bit realistic about how things are going to happen. If he was here, on his day he’d be hard to beat. But my young horses have been jumping in the outside rings and that’s been quite rewarding.”

    Jay added that finally securing the international main-ring win was very special.

    “A few years ago I thought I was going to win the Tom Hudson class, the big class at the Derby show,” he said. “But literally the last rider went in and beat me, and I was second. I was gutted! It still gripes me to this day.

    “So it’s really lovely to win here, and I’m very lucky that we come here and get to ride in this amazing arena. It’s like being home, now. I love it here. It’s a really special, family-run event – it’s unique.

    “I always wanted one of the Bunn Leisure rugs, but now I’ve got a different white rug. The corona special!”

    “So be confident and fake it ‘til you make it; that’s what I do!” he said.

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