Jodie Hall-McAteer crowned her pony career in some style, winning the Mince Pie 148cm Stakes on her amazing HOYS winner Tixylix in her final competition with the 18-year-old mare.
Only four of 12 jumped clear rounds over a technical track, Jodie, 16, as first to go showing the way. And therefore she drew the short straw and was first off in the jump-off. But this experienced pair dismissed any pressure and set a sizzling – and unbeatable – target, executing a brilliant inside turn to the second fence and taking on the course at a flying gallop. They finished their round with a flourish to the final oxer at maximum speed.
"We know each other so well, I completely trust her. Even if I miss, Tixy will still try to jump the fence. Now I need to find a horse just like her," said Jodie.
The three other riders chased hard but all lowered two rails apiece in their attempt. Bobbie Heath – whose sister Maddie had topped the 128cm class 24 hours earlier – jumped into second with Air Flow.
Georgia Taylor-Jones –another to bow out of her pony days at this prestigious show – took third on the impressive nine-year-old Kingstown Rebel, the youngest pony in the class who took the initmidating atmosphere in his stride.
And Georgia Blakemore with her diminutive trier Toy Story III rode into fourth place.
Hard-luck stories were abound in round one. Hallie Lunn and Javas Alun proved fastest four-faulter to take fifth with Faye Sutton on Robe Ruadh in sixth and Fraser Reed’s Quilitymaes Z seventh.
Photos © Kit Houghton/Olympia