In only her third appearance in a Puissance, Holly Smith cleared 2.20m (7ft 3in in old money) to claim an outright win jumping the big wall at HOYS on Quality Old Joker, pocketing £5,100.
Four others reached the final round – Britain’s James Smith on Tyson Uno and Joss Williams with Culmore Prospect and Ireland’s Peter Smyth on Cavalier Rusticana and Christopher Megahey aboard Seapatrick Cruise Cavalier – but they all failed to jump the wall and shared second place, leaving Holly to celebrate victory in front of a capacity crowd.
Holly – who had shared first place equally at Arena UK two weeks ago – had only decided to enter the Puissance on Thursday, and it proved a master-stroke as the big 18hh Irish-bred son of Obos Quality relished the occasion.
“He’s only eight and I wasn’t going to jump him, but he almost won the Foxhunter on Thursday night so I decided to enter. I’ve never had a horse before that I thought was capable of jumping a Puissance without frightening them,” said Holly.
“It was great to begin with, but the last round was very scary. The wall was massive for the final round, but luckily I’ve got a massive horse and I trust him implicitly. He’s so honest, very intelligent and athletic – a pony stuck in a massive horse’s body.”
Holly still used her head despite the nerve-wracking final round.
“I was a little bit quick in the fourth round and he rubbed the wall, so I was trying to make sure I didn’t go to soon in the final round, and it worked. I don’t want to put him off it, so I won’t do loads of these events, but he’s honest as a day is long.”
Photos © Jumping Around & HOYS/ES Photography