Small pony titles swept up north

  • Both HOYS small pony titles went north this year. Pippa Allen took the 128cm championship home to Cleveland with Silver Wonder, while the Charles Owen 138cm equivalent went to Scotland’s James Smith and Fountain Ranger.

    Nine ponies made the 128cm jump-off, where former RIHS champions Rosie Gunn and Get Ready Freddie set the standard. Pippa and Silver Wonder were next to go and they were slightly quicker at the end, to reduce the time by 0.26sec.

    It took an equally brilliant performance from James and Fountain Ranger, who won from opening draw of a six-pony jump-off.

    “I had to go fast with Jessie Smith and More Than Milton to come,” said the Kirkcudbright-based 13-year-old.

    And so it proved. Jessie flew round on the lovely little grey, but they missed out by 0.34sec.

    Geoff Luckett gained the international victory he so richly deserved when he and Clare Beecroft’s lovely Dutch-bred mare, Marleen, proved far too quick for their rivals in the Xerox Special Events Services Cup.

    The other afternoon class, the Zinc Management Cup jump-off, went to Cheshire-based Irishman Billy Twomey with a marvellous performance on a borrowed ride, South View owner Charles Britton’s mare Intermission.

    Later in the day, John Whitaker thrilled his legion of fans where he finished equal first in the HOYS puissance on his two rides, Exploit Du Roulard and Lactic Two.

    The veteran Yorkshireman had a quiet show until Saturday night, which he began with a close second place on Lactic behind Belgium’s Kristof Cleeren and Andiamo Z in the accumulator.

    Six then reached the fourth round of the puissance, where John was the only rider able to clear 7ft 1in, although Exploit gave him a fright by almost forgetting to lift his hind legs over.

    “It probably felt as bad as it looked!” said John, who returned almost immediately to increase his winnings in the class to £3,500 when Pauline Woodward’s grey Lactic made it look very easy indeed.

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