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Nick Skelton’s champion five-year-old showjumper sold abroad

Nick Skelton’s winning five-year-old, Billy Bilboa — who he describes as a future grand prix horse — has been sold to Ireland where a young rider has taken the reins.

The Billy Stud home-bred is by top stallion Plot Blue out of the Cevin Z mare Billy Corrib (a half-sister to Pippa Funnell’s great event horse Billy Walk On) and was the top-priced four-year-old when selling for £79,000 at one of the Funnells’ popular young horse auctions last year.

Due to the Olympic gold medallist and his partner Laura Kraut’s international commitments, the mare remained at the Billy Stud to further her education and has been ridden to great effect this year by 19-year-old Lottie Tutt, who described the talented grey as “careful and brave”. Their crowning moment came at the All England Jumping Championships when the pair headed the Al Shira’aa five-year-old final.

But after Nick accepted “an offer that was too good to refuse”, Billy Bilboa will now be seen under 15-year-old showjumper Gabrielle Enright from Ireland.

“Billy Bilboa had a great season, culminating in winning the five-year-old championship, but it’s lovely for us and it’s great for Nick, too, that she’s been sold to a good home,” William told H&H.

“It’s the success of horses like Billy Bilboa, who have been sold at our auctions and gone on to such great achievements, that has encouraged us to do an elite auction this weekend [Sunday 18 October]. It will feature 12 of our top horses ranging from four to six years old, but mainly six-year-olds.”

Among the 12 lots going under the hammer in the online auction is the current Big Star national six-year-old champion, Billy Masai (Billy Mexico x Billy Congo), who William describes as having “huge potential”.

Runner-up in that final was Billy Bakewell (Billy Um Bongo x Jazz) a “competitive mare with a great attitude” who also competed on the Sunshine Tour with William.

There is also a six-year-old stallion half-brother to William’s Olympic shortlisted horse Billy Diamo, Billy Cromwell (Zinedine x Andiamo), who has “all the attributes needed to take him to grand prix level”.

All three have a starting price of £25,000.

Also up for sale is a five-year-old stallion son of Emerald, the All England novice champion Billy Vitani and several well-bred four-year-olds.

“In this year more than ever with the current restrictions, auctions like this give everyone an opportunity to buy online,” added William. “So it will be interesting to see.

“After the success of the past five years of auctions, we feel that we have gained client confidence and now is the right time to introduce older proven horses at a higher value.”

Among the other horses sold at previous Billy Stud auctions are Billy Mufasa, the Hickstead four-year-old champion, and Billy Be Boss, the NEXGEN four-year-old title holder.

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Nick Skelton visited the Surrey stud last week to view some of the elite auction horses and has his eye on “three or four” lots.

“I’m always keen to source new talent and I know that the way the horses are produced at The Billy Stud enables me to see a true representation of each horse,” said Nick. “William has definitely put together his best collection yet and I have my eye on a number of them. All credit to the team there for producing these horses so well.”

Bidding for The Billy Stud Elite Auction opens on Friday, 16 October at 9am and the first lot will close at 8pm GMT on Sunday, 18 October.

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