Charley Hamilton lands the British Novice title with a daring gallop


Charley Hamilton was the first to receive a coveted rug and sash at the British Showjumping Indoor Championships at Aintree Equestrian Centre – this year’s HOYS. She paired up with Innishannon Red Squirrel to post a super-quick round for the Equissage Pulse British novice title.

Thirty-nine competitors faced course-designer Mark McGowan’s track and 22 found all the right answers to contend a hot jump-off. Mollie Smith claimed an early lead on the Zig-Zag/Hamlet six-year-old mare Church Park Elite and remained ahead despite several challenges.

But Charley was tighter and quicker, taking advantage of the seven-year-old Red Squirrel’s stride and carefulness with a gallop to the final vertical to win by 0.95 sec.

“I knew Mollie had been fast but I know she can be quick across the ground so I just went for it and galloped to the last. I was still surprised when the commentator announced I had beaten Mollie’s time as so many others had been struggling to come close – but I couldn’t have been more delighted,” said Charley.

Mollie remained in second place and a late challenge by Aileen Craig aboard the Up To Date 8/Vaillant five-year-old Validate (pictured) slotted into third place.

Charley acquired the Irish-bred West Coast Cavalier/Kasmayo mare in the summer of 2019.

“She hadn’t event cantered over a pole when I started with her but she really tries and comes to life in the arena,” said Charley, who already has her eye on the future. “She has her double clears for discovery and newcomers second round for next year and I’m mainly focusing on newcomers second rounds.

“I’m so grateful to the team at Aintree and British Showjumping for getting behind the show and making it happen. It’s my first visit and its an amazing venue; everyone has been so friendly and welcoming and despite it being behind closed doors, they have really made it feel like a major show and with so many watching on livestream, it feels like a major championships.”

Text © Jumping Around/Photos courtesy British Showjumping/Majestic Photography

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