Surgical precision matched with a serious amount of horsepower proved to be the perfect recipe for “ride & drive” success at the Dodson & Horrell Bolesworth International Horse Show.
To say this was a competitive class feels almost inane – every class here is competitive. But the chance to drive a brand new Bentley through what is effectively a Pony Club games course certainly adds to the excitement.
Showjumper Jay Halim and his partner Ed Jackson, a doctor who has been working on the front line throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, saved the best to last to swoop in and pip long-time leaders Chris Smith and Adam Botham to the win.
“It’s really good fun,” Jay told commentator John Kyle. “It’s obviously lovely to share the moment with my partner, Ed, and with all my owners and supporters here this evening.”
Jay put his metaphorical foot down to whizz across the 1.25m course – taking a bold stride out between the third and fourth fences and cutting in tight to the penultimate upright, which caught out many unsuspecting victims, and ending with a beautiful jump over the Lottery oxer.
The pressure was then on Ed, who put his actual foot to the floor and wasted no time in a precision-accurate driving performance between the cones, as the sun set behind the estate.
Ed and Jay were the only team to break the 80 second barrier, crossing the finish line in 79.97 seconds, with no extra penalties to add.
Explaining his driving tactics in the 542 horsepower Bentaga V8, Ed added: “I think maybe I just had the pressure on – it was put your foot down, or no dinner!”
Chis Smith and Adam Botham settled for the runner-up spot, and also added no penalties to their finishing time of 81.31 seconds.
Third went to the fastest three-faulter side of Joe Whitaker in the saddle and Sam Horrel in the driving seat, who just clipped the final cone to add three seconds to their finishing time, giving them a total of 84 seconds.
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