Speed king Guy Williams pressed the accelerator to secure a memorable victory in the Thistledown Cup at the Horse of the Year Show.
It was a case of sorcerer edging out the apprentice sorcerer as Guy pipped Lily Attwood, who is based at his yard near York, to take the top prize.
Six combinations made it through to the jump-off, and it looked as though Lily might have done enough on Cor-Leon VD Vlierbreek Z when they clocked 35.91 seconds.
Ireland’s David Simpson was close behind on Equine America Billy Picador, but Guy piloted his vastly-experienced stallion Rouge de Ravel home in 34.92 to collect the top prize.
Guy said: “He is really fast, and he got the best draw. Me and Lily both know what each other do, and she made me work for it.
“My horse is very fast – he is probably one of the fastest in the world when he gets going – and it really suited him today. He jumped so well.
“Lily is deadly in the ring. She takes chances where other people don’t. There is so much grit about her, and horses jump for her.”
Essex rider Izabella Rogers earlier emerged victorious after a keenly-contested Robinsons Equestrian Pony Foxhunter Championship.
A total of 13 combinations progressed to the jump-off – but only two delivered a second successive clear round, with Izabella’s time of 34.93 seconds putting her more than two seconds clear of the field.
It was an outstanding performance by the 13-year-old on Neil 55, with Marni McMyn taking second aboard Hoofprint Caleb in 37.39, while Henry Squibb was third with Clyde Barrows after clocking 31.89 seconds, but collecting four faults.
“There are no words to describe how elated I am at the moment,” said Izabella, who won a class that numbers among its former champions the Tokyo Olympics team eventing gold medallist Oliver Townend.
“I have had the pony for a year, and we have just grown and grown in trust. I am so proud of the way he jumped and the way he is taking on these big arenas.
“I am so happy, and this rates beyond 100 out of 100 in terms of what I have achieved.”
* Audio interview with Thistledown Cup winner Guy Williams
* Audio interview with Robinsons Equestrian Pony Foxhunter Championship winner Izabella Rogers
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