Flying 128s and a win for Holly Smith at Hickstead *H&H Plus*

  • H&H is on site at Hickstead’s Science Supplements All England Jumping Championships, and spoke to today’s winners. Find out who won what and how...

    Pony riders and their supporters arrived at Hickstead in force for the winter finals reallocated to the Science Supplements All England Jumping Championships after the Royal International Horse Show was lost to the lockdown.

    They certainly made the most of the opportunity to compete in the International Arena and the standard in all three championships was incredibly high.

    Ten-year-old Sophia Rogers kept her cool to jump a great winning clear on Whinney Lass. This was the third consecutive win for this lovely 17-year-old mare, who took the title in 2018 and 2019 for Sophia’s older sister Izabella.

    “This means everything to me, but it was a big surprise to win,” said Sophia.

    You would have to go a long way to see a better round than that produced by Tabitha Kyle and Playboy Van De Zoetewei to retain their 138cm title. They had to do something special because the round from Olivia Sponer on Top Silvio Hastak looked hard to beat.

    “I felt like I was in the Grand National,” said Tabitha, 13. “This pony is so, so special. I wish I could have him as a horse too.”

    The sole double clear was enough to win the winter JC championship for 15-year-old Lauren Caroline and Kissemee Chatterbox. Lauren, whose family recently moved close to Hickstead, has had the ride on this gelding since May last year.

    “We’ve just stepped him up a level and we won our first European trial, but this was the best yet,” she said.

    On a day when previous winners hit the headlines, there was another in the 1.40m class that finished Thursday’s International Arena programme. An enormous field came forward, and after almost four hours of jumping, the top spot and the £500 prize went to a wonderfully flowing round from last year’s champions Holly Smith and the stallion Fruselli.

    Guy Williams conjured a great turn of speed from Mr Blue Sky UK, a horse perhaps better known for his exploits in puissance and six-bars, to take second spot ahead of Nicole Pavitt and her home-bred Paris 16.

    “He’s just a great, honest, genuine careful horse and I’m lucky to ride him,” said Holly. “I’m also delighted for his owners, Sue and Gordon Hall. After we lost Hearts Destiny, it’s lovely that they still have a good horse.”

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