Yesterday’s torrential rain late in the afternoon led Royal Windsor Horse Show organisers to cancel a raft of classes, but the traditional native in-hand sections went ahead as planned and provided some absorbing competition.
After a busy morning in the Copper Horse Arena – where for the first time, each breed contested its own championship – the supreme title was decided in front of HM The Queen.
This produced a major surprise as the coveted top spot went to a Shetland broodmare. From a high-class 12-strong line-up, Julian Walters and David Hodge’s eight-year-old Schivas Kerry was Russell Sutcliffe’s choice ahead of Kevin Light’s five-year-old Fell gelding, Townend Emperor.
Many had tipped The Queen’s typey Briant-produced Balmoral Erica, the Highland champion, but further honours did not come her way.
Retrained racehorses were out in force and also attracted a large number of spectators.
Diana Keegan’s hunting specialist, Naughty Noah, headed a high-class field of 22 for the Challenge final after jumping a superb clear over a substantial track. The 14-year-old is the trail layer for the South Eridge hunt and competed in the inter-hunt relay the previous day.
“He loves his hunting,” said Tonbridge-based Diana, who runs a racehorse rehab yard and stud. “He’s only done one other challenge class – to qualify for here.”
Allister Hood beat off strong competition to win the RoR show horse class with Clare Brown’s nine-year-old former hurdler, Blackcurrant. This handsome gelding won the RoR final at Hickstead three years ago, after which Claire bought him.
“I’d seen him out and about, and loved him,” she said. “I had him at home and just hacked him about, and then decided that he was too nice for that. I knew Allister through the Suffolk Hunt, and I knew he would be the person to produce him.”
Royal Windsor showing results
RoR retrained racehorse challenge final (Mrs G Jones, Mrs L Murray, Mrs L Killingbeck) 1, D Keegan’s Naughty Noah; 2, C Hankinson’s Moratti; 3, H Cox’s Jacklighte Bellvue. RoR show horse 1, C Brown’s Blackcurrant; 2, Baileys Horse Feeds’ Stealth Project; 3, Mr & Mrs M Jerram’s Night Prayers. In-hand M&M results to follow