Ollie Tuff became the youngest ever to win the prestigious Equitop Myoplast Foxhunter final at HOYS aged just 15. He set a sizzling and unbeatable target from the front with Darino B to take the class by almost two sec in a class launched in 1954 with such illustrious names as David Broome, Harvey Smith, John Whitaker and Nick Skelton as previous winners.
Seven of the 23 starters reached the jump-off over course-designer Kelvin Bywater’s 12-fence track, but there was no doubt about the winner. Olli confidently took out strides down every distance and risked a rousing gallop to the final oxer on the Verdi/Burggraaf 10-year-old for victory.
“It’s phenomenal, my dad [Justin] has said for years this is the class to win,” said Ollie, who had planned for this championship specifically since qualifying at Addington Manor.
Ollie is no stranger to HOYS, he first rode here in 128cm classes and jumped in the pony newcomers last year – “I had the last fence down and we decided to come off ponies early and into horses properly,” added Ollie, who had been competing with horses from children-on-horses to junior teams since 2016.
Darino – who is owned jointly by Justin and Jo Bishop – was spotted 12 months ago.
“The first time I sat on him, I knew he was special – he’s cheeky but he’s by Verdi so you can’t expect anything else – but he’s got all the attributes, he’s brave, careful and with the heart of a lion and a big stride for a not-so-big horse,” added Ollie.
Lucy Townley made the most of her final draw to claim second on the Cevin Z/Animo seven-year-old Billy Tennessee into second with Louise Saywell and the impressive Belgian-bred seven-year-old Cardino Z taking third. Jess Dimmock posted the steadiest of the double clears for fourth on Billy Fleance. Both Richard Howley on Farianne and Nicole Pavitt with Edinburgh incurred four faults to take fifth and sixth and Alex Thompson claimed seventh on Classy Cat.
In a thrilling Thursday afternoon finale for the Thistledown Development pony club mounted games cup, the Oakley Hunt West and West Hants were forced to go head-to-head in a nail-biting tie-breaker to decide the champions after equalling on 30 points apiece.
And the Bedfordshire-based Oakley Hunt West delivered the goods in the deciding flag race, sparking scenes of celebration among their team and supporters.
West Hants had to settle for second with the North Warwickshire in third. Morpeth – making their first appearance at Horse of the Year Show since 1994 – finished fourth with Romney Marsh in fifth ahead of Atherstone in sixth.
The teams now contend the Prince Philip Cup final which concludes on Sunday night.
Photos © Jumping Around