Holly Cooper raced to victory in a thrilling, edge-of-your-seats jump-off to take the pony Foxhunter championship with Valentino Supreme.
“I was very nervous but he’s incredible,” said Holly, 15, who had planned to go steadier – “I took strides out in the pony newcomers jump-off and had two down so I wasn’t going to gallop to the last, but when I was in there I knew he could do it.”
Thirty-one initially contended the class with nine accessing a quick, nail-biting jump-off. Tatiane Mauree set a competitive standard on Horseabout Zibu, but Holly was quicker and tighter, risking an incredibly tight turn to the second fence.
“He’s a forward-going pony but is also good at turns, the jump-off track suited us,” said Holly, who took on Tracey and Sophie Phillips’ Irish-bred nine-year-old 12 months ago.
“Sophie jumped him in the newcomers final last year and I think it helped us, he was used to the atmosphere,” said Holly, who was inspired by HOYS years ago.
“I watched my then trainer Jess Dimmock win the young riders and ever since it has been a dream.”
Tatiane took second on the eight-year-old mare Horseabout Zibu with Courtney Young providing the only other double clear for third with Neil 55. Lily Freeman-Attwood beat the winning time – albeit by only 0.06 sec – but the penultimate vertical fell to drop the seven-year-old Capability Brown into fourth and Chloe Templeton finished fifth on Still Got Me, also a seven-year-old. Megan Morris claimed sixth with RS Capello and Alice Weightman also finished on clear and four to take seventh with Epapke.
Photos © Jumping Around