The first day of showjumping at this year’s Horse of the Year Show included some thrilling jump-offs and spectators saw some of the exceptionally talented horses coming through the ranks in Britain.
Ireland’s Anthony Condon, who is based with Billy Twomey in Cheshire, produced some eye-watering angles over fences to take the Tri-Zone newcomers title with The Allen family’s Molly Malone V.
“She’s very quick across the floor,” said Anthony, who shared the title on Ballade in 2007 with Laura Renwick (Beluga II). “And I can turn her tightly.”
Molly Malone is just six years old, but the grey mare has qualified for three Birmingham finals. This evening, she’ll contest the Horse & Hound Foxhunter final and on Saturday morning she’ll be competed in the six-year-old championship.
“The Foxhunter course is a lot bigger than the newcomers,” said Anthony. “But she’s been in the ring now and obviously done very well.”
Robert Whitaker headed the seven- and eight-year-old final with Mandy Hall’s Waterstone II, who was previously ridden by Scott Brash and owned by Elizabeth McTaggart.
“He was bought just before Scope,” said Robert of the seven-year-old gelding. “I jumped him there, then he went back to Mandy’s for a few weeks and then came back to me for Arena UK (21-26 September).”
The hotly tipped favourite to win the Squibb Demolition pony Foxhunter championship did just that. Thomas Plaster and the Chitty family’s Amelie JR Z gained their win by taking strides out all round the course.
Thomas, 16, only has a few weeks left in pony classes and the win comes after three years of producing the mare, who would rear rather than go over a fence when he first got her.
The ride will go to Alex Chitty at the end of the month.
A determined round from Di Fairclough secured her the British Showjumping Amateur Classic title on the 10-year-old Limerick. Last year’s winner Ian Wynne (Don Douglas) looked set to steal victory once again and he beat Di’s time, but a fence down cost him the title this year.
Stay in touch with all the action from HOYS on Horseandhound.co.uk throughout the show, and don’t miss H&H’s special report, on sale Thursday 14 October