The field for the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) supreme horse has widened following the news that Carol Bardo and Jackie Beatham’s riding horse, Comberton Clancy, will not defend his 2011 title.

Carol said the nine-year-old, who was unable to compete at the Royal International (17-22 July) because he overreached just before his class, will not come out again this season.

So what are the experts’ top tips for the 2012 Home Farm Hothorpe and the Mulbrooke Stud supreme horse of the year?

Producer Nigel Hollings thinks Robert Walker’s HOYS 2011 cob of the year Starry Night could take the top honours this year.

“He constantly caught my eye at the BSHA [British Show Horse Association] championship show,” said Nigel.

“He’s a lovely model of a heavyweight and one of the judges for the supreme, Mike Daley [of the Welsh Pony and Cob Society], will appreciate a good cob.”

Katie Jerram’s Dunbeacon is also a real contender for the title.

He took the 2010 supreme and is – “touch wood” – going to be at HOYS again this year, said Katie.

But she added: “It’s hard enough to win a class let alone a championship – it comes down to who the judges are and what they are looking for.”

Katie also rates Robert Oliver’s heavyweight Loughkeen Dancing Lord and wonders if Jayne Webber and The Humdinger might triumph.

“Could Jayne pull it off even without Clancy? I think so. ‘Dinger’ has a 100% record [in the coloured class at HOYS],” she said.

HOYS runs from 3-7 October and the supreme takes place during the evening performance on the final day.

For show information and to book, visit www.hoys.co.uk or tel: 0844 581 8282.

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (20 September 2012)