Nicole Pavitt made history with her fourth title win in the Connollys Red Mills newcomers with Southend.
Only four of the 24 starters made it through to the jump-off over what became a challenging track. Chris Smith set the target with Hornet and provided another good clear but Nicole immediately swiped 4.71 sec off his time to secure the top spot with an effortlessly quick round on Southend.
“He’s actually qualified all four [national finals] here, the newcomers, Foxhunter, grade C and Talentseekers, but we decided not to enter the Talentseekers as it would be too much on the same night as the newcomers,” said Nicole, who has won the HOYS newcomers final a previous three times – in 2012 with Our Duchess, 2014 in Tia Semilly (later named Hussar) and in 2017 with HC Cornet.
The 11-year-old Southend of unknown breeding only started his jumping career eight months ago when he came to owner Matt Pike in a part exchange deal.
“We definitely had the better deal. He's done riding club and hunted so he has a varied background but he makes it all seem so effortless - we had no idea he would turn out to be such a star,” said Nicole, who took over the ride when previous rider Drew Walton was kicked and put out of action. "I've only ridden him a handful of times. He's not the fastest horse but he has a big stride and covers the ground."
The pair had prepared for this show at a two week meeting in Canteleu, France.
“The ring was humongous in France and after jumping out there I thought it would be a bit tight in here. I prepared for the worst but he came good,” she said.
Chris finished second on the Cardento/Padinus seven-year-old mare Hornet - who is still eligible for newcomer first rounds.
"She's a lovely person and everything I ask of her, she tries," said Chris.
Last-to-go Olivia Poole finishing third on eight faults with My Premier Touch and Paul Barker eased Strides Maureen into fourth.
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