Great Britain’s Jay Halim proved quickest out of the blocks as he claimed the Horse of the Year Show’s Speed Horse of the Year title with Aragon Z.
Jay, who is based in Burford, West Oxfordshire, called on all his experience and skill to pip British Olympian Holly Smith in a thrilling race for top spot.
Holly was in blistering form aboard Fruselli, clocking 48.32 seconds for her round that put her clear of the pack.
But former eventer Jay delivered a brilliant display, eclipsing Holly’s time by 20 hundredths of a second to land the winner’s purse, with James Smith and Simply Splendid finishing third.
“I aimed the horse specifically for this class,” Jay said. “I only got into the show last-minute , and I am very grateful to be here.
“It is always nice to win on home turf. He won the Talent Seekers final here two years ago, and it is nice just to cement that he’s the winner that he is.
“I didn’t see Holly jump, but I know when Holly goes fast, she goes fast!
“It is one of my bigger international wins. It is so important for us to have home international shows, and it’s amazing to be here. The atmosphere for the puissance on Saturday night was absolutely incredible.”
The final day’s action in the Andrews Bowen International Arena at Resorts World, NEC in Birmingham began with the British Horse Feeds Speedi-Beet Grade C Championship, which showcases up and coming horses and lists among its former winning riders Nick Skelton, William Funnell and Billy Twomey.
It was Chelmsford’s Ronnie Jones who came out on top aboard Interstar B after seven combinations from 22 starters made it through to the jump-off.
Despite being first to go, they set the standard, clocking 31.42 seconds, and no other rider threatened it apart from Holly Smith.
Holly and Billy Sarafina finished 62 hundredths of a second behind, while the podium places were completed by Somerset’s Adrian Whiteway, riding Chacco Volo.
It was Ronnie’s first win at the Horse of the Year Show, and he said: “I had some really good riders to go after me, so we had to go all out.
“He has been a really good horse all year, and he is very reliable. It is every rider’s dream to win here, and I am grateful to my owners and everyone that has supported us.”
* Audio interview with Speed Horse of the Year winner
* Audio interview with British Horse Feeds Speedi-Beet Grade C Championship winner Ronnie Jones
For more information on Horse of the Year Show 2019, please contact Horse of the Year Show Press Office, Grandstand Media Ltd. Tel: 02476 858205. Email: [email protected]