Guy Williams and Robert Whitaker cleared a seriously impressive height of 7ft2in (2.20m) to win the Ripon Select Foods Puissance at Horse of the Year Show on Saturday night (5 October).
In front of a packed-out crowd, a field of 12 starters were whittled down to four for the fifth and final round over the big red wall.
Robert Whitaker and class debutant Major Delacour were the first to leave the bricks untouched before Guy Williams, who shared victory in this class last year, returned with his high-jump specialist Mr Blue Sky UK to soar over the imposing obstacle and make it four wins out of four on his puissance record.
“He’s a really good horse and he just takes you to the fence,” said Guy. “It’s almost like the bigger it gets, the better he jumps. He hasn’t done a puissance since Olympia last year, it’s not something you want to do too often.
“In a puissance it is really tempting to attack the fence early on, but I try and hold them until the last round,” explained Guy. “It’s a fun class to ride in and the audience really enjoy it which makes you want to win. My kids beg me to do this class every year, they just love it. I used to come and watch at HOYS with my mum and dad so it’s great to now be here with my children.”
Robert was equally delighted with his performance.
“I just knew he’d be a good puissance horse,” he said. “I’ve been riding him now for about a year and he is a very brave jumper. I couldn’t have asked any more of him tonight, he felt better and better each round, I even think he could have kept going. There’s always a good crowd here on a Saturday night and it’s a good one for them to get behind. I’ll probably do the puissance at Olympia and see if we can win there too.”
Don’t miss the full report from Horse of the Year Show in this week’s Horse & Hound, out Thursday, 10 October.