Geoff Billington (pictured) and Geoff Luckett will be joining Robert Bevis and Andrew Davies at the Horse of the Year Show at the NEC in Birmingham (12-16 October) after claiming the final two qualifying tickets at last week’s Unex Towerlands show.
Luckett got off to a great start when he won the first jump-off leg of the points-based qualifying competition with Claire Beecroft’s tiny mare Marleen. Billington then threw down the gauntlet by taking the speed leg on the Dutch-bred eight-year-old Pedro.
Going into the third leg, the grand prix, some 15 riders were still in with a chance of claiming the two HOYS tickets. Luckett and Billington were among the eight riders who went forward to the jump off, despite lowering a pole each in the first round, as the two fastest four-faulters.
Geoff Billington was ensured of his HOYS place simply by making the jump off, while Geoff Luckett had to finish at least sixth to claim the remaining ticket. In the end, a foot perfect performance saw Luckett finish second to secure his place.
The HOYS crowds can look forward to seeing a truly international field at the show, although the world’s best, including Michael Whitaker, Nick Skelton and Robert Smith, will be absent due to a clash of dates with the new $1million Las Vegas Invitational Show in America.
The Whitaker clan will be well represented at HOYS with John, Robert and Ellen all in action, alongside the established faces of William Funnell, Tim Stockdale and David McPherson. Nations Cup regulars Mark Armstrong, Guy Williams, Robert Maguire and Paul Barker complete the British entry.
The international challenge includes top Irish riders Billy Twomey and Peter Charles alongside riders from countries as far afield as Australia (James Patterson Robinson), Libya (Fabrice Lyon) and Argentina (Sebastian Pellon Maison and Jose Larocca).
For more information about HOYS visit: www.hoys.co.uk or contact the box office (tel: 08700 101052).