Horse of the Year Show 2007: Leading junior show jumper, Top Tack Grade C, two-phase

  • The high standard of jumping continued on the final day of the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS), where 15-year-old George Whitaker rode into the record books on Miami Bound.

    This little grey pony captured the Leading Junior Show Jumper of the year title for George’s cousin, Thomas, last year, but no pony had before taken the most coveted title in junior jumping in consecutive years.

    The course proved extremely tough and many of the favourites went out. Eventually only two reached the jump-off, where George took on Jessie Drea on her home-produced Quantum Light.

    Cheered on by older brother William — plus the rest of the huge Whitaker clan — George produced a stunning jump-off round. Miami Bound does not have a huge stride, but he is careful and scopey and, on the instructions of the pony’s owner, George’s uncle, Steven, they pulled off some terrific turns.

    “I then went and hid while Jessie jumped,” said George.

    And it was a good job he did. Jessie was way up on the clock on the long gallop to the final fence, but Quantum Light got a little too close and rolled the top pole for second place.

    “All I’ve ever wanted to do was a lap of honour under the spotlights here,” said George. “The only trouble was that it went too fast!”

    On the opening day, local rider Mennell Watson finished runner-up in the seven-year-old final on Halida Du Rouet. He and the home-bred mare went one place better today, taking the Top Tack Grade C title after a classy nine-horse jump-off.

    “She deserved that. It somehow makes things even better when you’ve watched horses since they were foals,” he said.

    Ben Maher took the opening two-phase, a class named in honour of the late Ann Martin, who reported on international show jumping for Horse & Hound for many years.

    Ben cut every corner on the scopey stallion Gem Of India, who reduced the standard set by Welshman Lee Williams on Little Emir by almost 2sec.

    Stay in touch with the latest news from HOYS on HorseandHound.co.uk and ready H&H’s full report in next week’s magazine

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