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James Smith is Winter Champion

As the temperature at Hickstead gets hotter, the tension is mounting in the main arena. Only six riders made it through to the jump-off of this afternoon’s Incentevent’s Winter 138cm Championship and the crowd were kept on the edge of their seats until the final moment, when James Smith produced a blistering clear round.

Spencer Roe was first to jump off in this junior competition for registered JA ponies, not exceeding 138cm. A scorching time but an unfortunate four penalties enabled Helen Millican, next in the arena, to trump his score. Millican and Maverick’s Chance jumped clear in an impressive 37.59 sec, leading the field for the duration of the competition.

Dominique Whittaker, George Whittaker and Pippa Goddard jumped fantastic rounds but clocked up four penalties each, leaving Millican in the lead, with only James Smith left to jump.

The crowd fell silent as Smith entered the arena and remained so as he rode a masterly round on Fountain Ranger; cutting corners and turning on a sixpence. But his 35.54 sec clear round proved it was worth the risk. Smith was crowned 138cm Winter Champion with Helen Millican in second place.

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