It’s been a Simply Splendid start to the international showjumping at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) with two great British victories.
Georgia Tame and Z7 Caretina put in a superb performance to win the Grandstand Welcome Stakes, the first HOYS international showjumping class, then James Smith and Simply Splendid won the Stoneleigh Stakes speed class shortly afterwards.
Georgia and Team Z7’s 10-year-old mare had a tough job as speed merchant Guy Williams and Cicero II had set a blistering pace in the two-phase class. But the naturally fast Coltaire Z x Caretino mare put in a deceptively fast round to take almost a second off Guy’s time.
“I don’t think I’ve beaten Guy too often!” laughed Georgia. “When I walked the course, I made a plan, then I watched a few go. I didn’t get to see Guy but I saw his time was a lot quicker than theirs. But she’s a fast horse, and it all worked out.”
Georgia said the mare, whom she has had four years, is quite hot, and “likes to go fast”.
“She’s actually easier when she goes faster,” she said. “She’s great fun, and always tries really hard. She’s got a massive stride, and is so brave; you can just spin her round, and whatever fence is there, she’ll jump it.”
Georgia said it is “great to be back” at HOYS, her first show since her senior championship debut at the European Championships last month.
“And I hope the week carries on as well as it started!” she said. “I learned so much at the Euros, and I’ve had a few weeks to practise what I’ve learned. I’m looking forward to the future.”
The Stoneleigh Stakes, a speed class that Georgia won on Quintella in 2019, went to James and Lee Smith’s British-bred 12-year-old, and was the first senior class James had won at HOYS.
“I won the 138 [championship] in 2005, so it’s great to finally win a senior class!” he said.
“He’s naturally a fast horse and everything just came up well today.”
James has been riding the Ustinov gelding for three years, but said he has “really come into his own in the last year or so”.
“He’s not what I’d call the nicest to ride; he does it all in his own way,” he said. “He’s not difficult but he’s a real character who has his moments, and he likes to throw in a buck or two. He’s like a big pony.”
James and Simply Splendid will take on the accumulator tomorrow, and Sunday’s speed horse of the year class.
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