October 11, 2014 at 11:22 PM

Charlotte_Flack_Tagg_Puissance_-_Credit_Julian_Portch.JPGHorse of the Year Show's Tagg Puissance lived up to its billing among show jumping's most iconic events after a memorable and pulsating competition at the LG Arena in Birmingham on Saturday night.

Five combinations reached the fifth and final round, with the famous red wall raised to a staggering 2.19 metres (7ft 2in).

And after Jay Halim was eliminated following a refusal with Goodman Accobado, a four-way tie for top honours resulted after Joe Clayton (Rockim), Donald Whitaker (Quick Laura AS Z), Charlotte Flack (Ratina Kan) and David Simpson (Richi Rich 111) each collected four faults for felling the formidable obstacle.

It was pure sporting theatre at its brilliant best, offering fantastic drama for a capacity crowd that lapped up every minute.

Ten combinations started the competition, with Chloe Aston (Chateau De Brion Quainton) and the highly-fancied Irishman Michael Hutchinson (Acorad 3) bowing out, then Colombia's Daniel Bluman (Cantando Lyngriis) followed in round two at 1.93m before all seven remaining combinations cleared 2.03m in round three.

Tim Stockdale withdrew Erasmus VD Heffinck before round four (2.11m), while Joe Clayton knocked the wall over with his second ride Noctambule Courcelle, leaving the final five.

Shropshire-based Charlotte said: "It was absolutely amazing. I can't believe we managed to do that.

Donald_Whitaker_-_Credit_Julian_Portch.jpg"I had never jumped that big before, and the mare had never jumped a puissance until last week, and I think I just panicked a little  bit instead of trusting her in the last round."

Yorkshireman Donald, at 22, the youngest competitor on show in only his second puissance, added: "It was a fantastic atmosphere. You could feel how much the crowd were behind you when you went into the arena."

And David, who has recently relocated within West Sussex with his partner Louise Pavitt, said of  Richi Rich 111: "She jumped brilliantly. Everything was right and good to the last wall, but I think the fuel tank was just a touch empty.

"But I have never sat on a horse that has much scope as her. She could jump a double decker bus."

For Joe, it was not to be either, but he said: "He certainly knocked the wall down well! All the other rounds he jumped were fantastic, and maybe he was just trying to be too careful in round five."

Earlier in the evening, Nicole Pavitt continued to make hay at HOYS by claiming her second victory in four days.

The 26-year-old West Sussex rider won The Naylors Equestrian Accumulator and its £7,100 top prize - a class where combinations collect escalating points for each fence jumped, with a double points joker fence to finish.

Nicole and Victor Blue posted a maximum score of 65 points, but they did it in the quickest time, clocking 49.50 seconds to nudge the equally in-form John Whitaker and Lord of Arabia into second spot, while Kerry Brennan and Wellington M finished third.

The top eight places were filled by British riders.

"It has been a phenomenal week so far," Nicole said. "It has taken a few classes to get my second win, but finally it has come.

"It felt like a good round, then when John was a bit slower it was a bit of a breather for me, but I knew there were really quick riders like David Simpson and Guy Williams to come. I was sweating!

"I have had Victor for about three years now, and he has always been a quick horse. For a speed class like this one, you would always pick him because he is so careful and he lands running.

"It has been an amazing week. I haven't finished outside the top four in the classes I have been in, so I can't complain. It has probably been the best HOYS I have had. I am over the moon."

On Wednesday, Nicole won the EquestrianClearance.com Senior Newcomers class for a second time at HOYS.

Audio links to the four joint winners of the Tagg Puissance:

Charlotte Flack

Donald Whitaker

David Simpson

Joseph Clayton



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