Lily Freeman-Attwood jumped the only clear in the Equitheme National 148cm championship to win outright without the need of a jump-off with Capability Brown on day one at the British Showjumping National Championships.
A field of 32 ponies started in this feature pony class, but a difficult, technical course took its toll, and Lily was the only rider to leave all the fences intact – and she did it on a seven-year-old pony.
“Initially I wasn’t going to jump him as he is only a seven year old, but it paid off! I got him two and half years ago when an old family friend called and said he had a good young pony available. I wasn’t meant to buy him but we ended up never giving him back! We started him off very quietly and he has only stepped up to this level this year but he is already qualified for HOYS and now Olympia so he has completely exceeded expectations!” said Lily.
Underscoring her talent, Shrewsbury-based Lily, 16, who trains with Mark McCourt, also finished second on Valmy De Treille - the only pair on four faults in round one.
"We had an early draw and rushed a bit but she jumped super," said Lily, who picked up her HOYS leading pony showjumper of the year ticket here with this mare.
Lily now has both ponies through to the HOYS final.
Mya Roxburgh Caira finished third on the 20-year-old Chivaz with Ffion Roberts on the 16-year-old Ruby Riot fourth. Red Morgan was fifth on Bodyssee Des Avelines, Elsi Jacques slotted Trevoulter Ladies Man into sixth and Alice Weightman finished seventh on Cindy VI.
Jessica Howard stormed to victory in the National pony 1.15m members cup final in a tense, exciting jump-off with Claire Darwin’s Rocky Robin I.
Sixteen of the 53 starters came forward in the jump-off with Jessica making the first draw the winning one with a blistering opener on the Irish-bred 11-year-old. And no-one could catch her.
“My plan was to go fast to put pressure on the others and force them to get a fault,” said Jessica.
It worked – only four produced clears in the jump off.
Rocky joined Jess three years ago and this is a lucky show for the pair – they were fourth in last year’s pony newcomer masters to qualify for HOYS and won the pony discovery title in 2016. They will contend the HOYS pony Foxhunter final later this year.
“He’s the sort of pony who would kill himself for you in the ring and he is the one I always rely on for the big classes,” said Jess.
Ffion claimed second on Ruby Riot with Hannah Bishop in third aboard the 10-year-old Eskers Reliable Lad ahead of fourth-placed Tatiane Mauree and Horseabout Zibu. Tegan Rowlands finished fifth on Grey Palace and Holly Cooper took sixth on Valentino Supreme.
Tabitha Kyle, 11, has enjoyed an incredibly successful season and maintained her winning form to take the National 128cm title on Living The Dream.
“My plan for the jump off was to go clear instead of go against the clock and luckily it paid off. My ultimate goal this year was to qualify for HOYS which I managed to do so I’m really pleased,” said Tabitha, who qualified the 11-year-old Living Tthe Dream with a win ar Arena UK.
Tabitha will contend both HOYS 128cm and 138cm finals with a string of ponies. She has Living The Dream, Coreys Princess and Borderhill William in the 128cm and Lissduff Royal and Playboy Van De Zoetewei in the 138cm.
There was an added bonus of three HOYS places on offer in this 42-strong class. Noora von Bulow jumped into second on the Irish-bred 20-year-old Sparkel with Poppy Deakin’s 16-year-old Munsboro Plunkett in third and Hickstead champion Izabella Rogers took fourth with the 15-year-old Whinney Lass. Sophie Wicks was fifth on Camizion and Fergal Holohan claimed sixth on Harri Potter.
Dorset-based Luli Loveridge was declared the new National 138cm champion on Arrow Head Quiver.
Seventeen initially contended with just four accessing the jump-off, Luli winning with one of only two double clears on the 23-year-old Arrow Head Quiver.
“I’ve been riding him for about 18 months now and we have had some great wins. The course rode really well here today; my aim was definitely to go for time and he didn’t let me down,” she said.
Eloise Squibb was in the reckoning but had to settle for second and third on the 20-year-old Thelma’s Gift and the 17-year-old Drumaclan Flight with Tom Francis Jones finished fourth on Kiltormer Hero.
Honor Redhouse got the 2018 National Championships underway with the first championship win in the restricted rider 1m final to register her biggest win on Zara Queen of Hearts.
It was no mean feat as 19 came forward over course-designer Jason Abbs’ track to contend a hot jump-off, but on-form Kent-based Honor outpaced them all to win on the 11-year-old mare acquired 12 months ago.
“This is my biggest win so far as well as winning the 1.10m Schools final at Hickstead last week. I hope to keep going and jump on the home pony 1.15m team with her this year,” said Honor.
Amy Micaleff claimed second on the nine-year-old Mr P Doherty with Belle Garrigan third on Icaris W and Sophie Davidge filled fourth place aboard Stripe Owen.
Photos © 1st Class Images/courtesy Grandstand Media