Fences Still Standing as Elton John takes HOYS title

  • Daniella Johnston does not normally kick on Elton John II — but she did tonight, albeit only slightly, and it had the desired effect, as the combination won the Talent Seekers at HOYS.

    Kate Johnston’s 12-year-old gelding, who is also due to compete as a working hunter on Friday, and Daniella took almost four seconds off what had looked an unbeatable time set by eventer Gemma Tattersall and MGH Candy Girl to take the class, which incorporated the seven-year-old championship.

    “Doing the workers was his job but I thought I’d give this a go,” Daniella said. “He’s got so much heart and guts, and I thought ‘It’s one chance’.”

    Tonight’s course was tough, with only six clears from 26 starters, and Daniella, who moved 15.1hh Elton John into showjumping after his 2019 HOYS working hunter win, admitted she thought it was “a bit decent” when she walked it.

    “I knew I needed to be on my game and he was with me all the way,” she said. “I watched the first two go [who had 37 faults between them] and thought ‘Ah’.

    “I said to Mum I just wanted a nice round, to get into the jump-off, and give him a nice experience. And I normally don’t kick; I think that was the first time I ever had, although only slightly, and he answered every question. He improved as he went round, I’m so unbelievably proud of him.”

    Daniella is slightly concerned that having jumped the 1.40m track, Elton might goggle slightly at the much smaller working hunter fences he will have to face on Friday.

    “But I don’t mind how he goes on Friday,” she said. “We’ll just jump round and have a good time. This was my big goal and he’s smashed it.

    “It’s good to be back after a year off, especially in that main arena. That was a lifelong dream, and he’s made my dream come true.”

    Kim Barzilay’s Kimba Castello, who won the national British novice title at the 2019 British Showjumping National Championships with Emma-Jo Slater, won the seven-year-old championship with Holly Smith.

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