In the heavyweight show hunter of the year final at the 2021 Horse of the Year (HOYS), it was the turn of Matthew Ainsworth and Sue Hookham’s magnificent chestnut gelding Dublins Street Fighter (James) to ride the famous centre line after landing the red rosette.
The heavyweight class topped off a morning of hunter showing in the International Arena and will culminate in the show hunter of the year championship held during the floodlit evening performance.
The nine-year-old by Camiro De Haarz picked up his HOYS place at Midland Counties, where the duo also stood section reserve.
Freda Newton bought James the year before he was four-year-old champion in Dublin. He then went to James Munro and Russell Skelton, and was bought by Sue in March this year for Matthew to ride.
James’ 2021 tally includes wins at the Wiltshire Show and Royal Bath and West. He was also placed fourth at the Royal International Horse Show earlier in the term.
Matthew credits his mentor and former employer, the late Robert Oliver, for his role in Freda initially buying James.
Magnus Nicholson mirrored his 2019 result with his own grey gelding Bowland Lucky Slipper, achieving second on what was the Alice’s Diamond Slipper, 13-year-old’s final HOYS appearance.
In third was another chestnut gelding, Robert Walker and Jill Day’s ultra-consistent contender Patrics Choice, while fourth place was clinched by William Hibbert riding Marlfield. William Morton achieved fifth with Sarah Tait’s Ringwood The Specialist.
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