Sunday, October 12, 2008

Whitakers Flying high at Horse of the Year Show!

The atmosphere last night was electric! We were the busiest we have been so far! Thanks again to all of you that came to say hello. The build up to Puissance was so exciting. We were up in the warm up area close to some of the most beautiful looking horses I have even seen. This was definitely the highlight of the evening’s performance. The crowd were treated to an unusually large class of 23 riders in the 1st round. By round 4 it was down to a handful. Ben Maher was on top form and my heart goes out to him as he clipped the top pole of the rails but then flew the wall with grace and style – he really deserved to be in the next round. Watch out for Decembers issue as we are doing an interview with Ben on site here today. By the 5th it was down to two from the same family, Robert and Ellen Whitaker. Ellen gave her all to clear the wall which stood at seven foot and three inches but was unlucky to have a brick out. Robert however, cleared the wall to a rapturous applause of an enthralled NEC crowd. He was crowned HOYS Puissance Champion 2008.

So here’s the round up from the rest of the day.

A packed house on the penultimate night of the prestigious Diamond Jubilee Horse of the Year Show wowed crowds with thrilling world-class show jumping combined with the very best of equestrian entertainment. From youngsters to the professional show jumpers, audiences were kept on the edge of their seats throughout the day starting with the Xerox Special Event Service Cup. Michael Whitaker kicked-off the day with a thrilling win on Fairviews Mirabelle D’or. He set an unbeatable time, although Guy Williams on Onyx V was hot on his heels with only 0.01 seconds separating the two maestros. Young talent William Whitaker, took third place on It’s Super Girl in this exciting speed class.
The youngest show jumpers at HOYS competed in the 128cms Championship class which is only open to riders under 12 years of age. Millie Allen had a truly outstanding round, winning the class on Matthew’s Girl. Amy Inglis took second place on her pony J’s Junior. Third place went to Imogen Pinney riding Show Me Again.
Next came the bigger ponies and bigger fences in the HOYS 138cms Championship. With only two in the jump-off, last year’s runner up, Jessica Crosby with Fountain Ranger, stole the limelight in the fastest time of 33.61 seconds. Laura Robinson and Orlando XI’s round was not quite fast enough, with a time of 34.33 seconds and she had to settle for second place. Lara Whiteway riding My Bugsy Malone followed in third place as the fastest rider with four faults.
The Bob Hurford Memorial Cup proved to be tough competition for first place with five clears in the jump-off. Jurgen Stenfert from the Netherlands is having a fantastic run here at HOYS and took the lead with a lightning round of 34.65 seconds. The Brits were close on his heels in 2nd and 3rd place, Robert Smith and Paul Barker respectively, both with extremely fast times.

To emulate the words of Mike Tucker, ‘What a great start to Saturday evening’s performance!’ Robert Whitaker produced an electrifying round on Mandy Hall’s Rusedski II in tonight’s Accumulator class. He set what proved to be an unbeatable time of 43.49 seconds. Jurgen Stenfert came the closest to threatening Robert’s time but had to settle for 2nd place. Competitors accumulate points for every jump they clear; double points are for the taking if they clear the Joker which is the biggest fence of the course. British riders were very strong in this International competition, securing three of the top six places. Andrew Davies who gained a Wildcard entry to HOYS has been in the money all week, and put a valiant performance to get 6th on the extremely sharp Wonderful Melody Van de Helle.