Laura Pritchard posts her biggest win in the prestigious HOYS Foxhunter final

Laura Pritchard posted her biggest win in the HOYS Foxhunter final on Horse Victorys Fayot, leaving Olympic riders trailing in her wake.

“It was nerve-wracking, but I just have to make myself concentrate on what I’m doing,” said Laura on the class most professional riders want to win. “I felt pressure, but not too much because he never lets me down.”

Such was the quality, 11 reached the jump-off from 22 starters with Louise Whitaker getting the second round off to a flying start on Udget Du Rozel. She was immediately overtaken by Richard Barton and Donata and while Tim Stockdale chased on Lady Bird, he couldn’t catch either of them.

But none of them was a match for Laura. The Lupicor stallion is only a six-year-old but he cut the corners like a pro, and although he put in a heart-stopping extra stride at the final oxer, causing the crowd to make a collective gasp, he flicked away behind to clear it and set the winning time.

“I was going on one less stride to the last but he came back to me and decided we needed one more, but he’s so careful he jumped it,” said Laura, who had finished third in the newcomers final.

“There was a tight turn option in the newcomer jump-off but I decided to save him for the Foxhunter. I knew we were ready but winning is surreal, it’s the best day of my career.”

Laura, who studied fashion design for four years at Manchester University, returned to her Anglesey home a year ago and took over the ride on Fayot from younger sister Christie. However, this was their swansong, Fayot has been sold to Denmark.

“He's very special and has a bright future," said Laura.

Billy Twomey on his new ride of 10 days Eindhoven GH, a Vaillant seven-year-old owned by Sam and Darren Middleton and qualified at Bicton by Julian Mincher, came within half a sec to take second place.

Richard claimed third on Gaye Hartley's Ukato eight-year-old Donata with Louise and Team Harmony's eight-year-old Udget Du Rozel in fourth place and Tim on the nine-year-old Lord Z daughter Lady Bird in fifth with the final double clear.

Always value for money, Holly Smith took on the challenge in the final draw with Quality Old Joker. They provided the fastest time of the class – 2.32 sec faster – but the Irish eight-year-old tapped a rail on the penultimate oxer.

It was a very busy class for Holly who jumped four horses in round one – we think that is a record and deserves recognition. It was one day of an extremely busy week – Holly accumulated nine tickets to the various national finals at HOYS, and also rode in the working hunter championship.

PLS Halo Diamond contended the newcomer final and finished second. Carolus K, Quality Old Joker and winner Lammy Beach jumped in the Talentseekers championship. Quality Old Joker, Grennanstown Sarco Luxhill, Elore and PLS Halo Diamond jumped in the Foxhunter final and Halo Diamond will jump in the grade C final on Sunday. That is some achievement.

Simon Crippen reached the jump-off on Judy Ross' home-bred Rosgan So Divine to take the best British-bred award in 11th place. The Couleur Rubin eight-year-old is out of Divine Des Cabanes, another of Judy's home-breds who won the 1998 HOYS newcomers final with Simon, also taking sixth in the grade final and eighth in the Foxhunter final in the same year.

Photos © Jumping Around