‘I fell in love within five minutes’: new owner – but same rider – for puissance superstar

  • Guy Williams’ superstar puissance ride Mr Blue Sky UK has a new home and new rider – but will still take on the red wall with Guy.

    Blue, who has won nine international puissances with Guy including four at the London International Horse Show while owned by Caroline and Rupert Phillips, has been bought by Elaine Annis, who told H&H she “fell in love with him within five minutes”. He is living with Elaine, and will be competed at national level by Charlotte Walker, but will go back to Guy for puissances, and probably a shot at the Hickstead Derby this summer.

    “I always think that with a partnership as formidable as theirs, why would you change it?” Elaine said.

    Elaine owns Noctambule Courcelle, known as Nigel, who also won the London puissance, in 2012 with Ben Maher, and competed in it with Guy in 2014. Nigel is still living with Elaine in retirement, and is now Blue’s neighbour.

    “My friend Charlotte was in Portugal recently and they happened to be round a table,” Elaine said. “Guy asked how Nigel was and Charlotte said he’s retired but if the right puissance horse came along, I might like another one, and he said ‘What about Blue?’

    “He said he’d speak to Caroline, then I went to see him. I think within five minutes, I’d fallen in love with him, and said ‘I’m having him’.”

    Guy said he is looking forward to adding to Blue’s puissance record.

    “I’m very grateful to Caroline and Rupert for their support for so long,” he said.

    “But the opportunity came up for Elaine to buy him, and if everything goes to plan we’ll head to Hickstead too. It’s nice to know he’s in a knowledgeable home with Elaine, which is what he deserves.”

    Guy Williams riding Mr Blue Sky UK in the Cayenne Puissance

    Blue, who is now 15, competed in the Hickstead Derby with Guy in 2022, finishing 11th, and Elaine thinks that having been round the course, he will know what to expect this year.

    “He’s a puissance specialist, but never say never!” she said, adding that it was Blue’s nature that she fell in love with.

    “As Guy has said, he’s spooky and sharp, but he’s got a heart of gold,” she said. “He nuzzles through your pockets, puts his top lip up and laughs at you; he’s got a gorgeous personality, my children can lead him around.

    “I think with puissances, it’s the thrill of it. I love Nigel and he got me addicted to it. They say you get one horse of a lifetime and I can’t believe I might be lucky enough to end up with two. It’s lovely.”

    Caroline, from Stud UK Euro in Kent, told H&H she saw Blue advertised as a five-year-old, rang the seller and bought him.

    “I have 40 years experience of breeding and looking at young horses jump which gives me an eye to see real talent,” she said.

    “The grey horse I had bought had so much jump, all I could see was the blue sky, and that is how he got his name as he wasn’t named when he came over from Europe. The UK suffix was added, as you can see on other Stud UK Euro horses. Mr Blue Sky UK went on to be ridden by Guy Williams, who I have had a very good relationship with for 40 years; he beat the best in the world, at Bordeaux on my horse Zaire .

    “Mr Blue Sky has been a horse of a lifetime for me in winning so many puissances. We wish Elaine all the very best.”

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