A total of 28 horse and rider combinations came forward for Saturday’s Horse of the Year Show 1m60 Accumulator, which boasted a full line-up of showjumping stars.
It was Ireland’s Jessica Burke who triumphed as she set and held an early lead, thundering around the Andrews Bowen International Arena on the KWPN mare, Inpulss. The pair claimed a full house score of 44, after soaring over the joker to stop the clock on an incredible 33.77.
The eight-fence class offers up to a total of 44 points for riders to collect along the way. For every fence jumped clear, set points are added to the final score, with a joker fence to tackle last, where there’s all to ride for as knocking it down can prove costly. Should riders choose not to jump the joker, a simple oxer can see them finish their round on a lower score. On completion, the rider with the highest score with the fastest time is named the winner.
Jessica’s nail-biting round proved a formidable force throughout, those who followed attempted similar shortcuts on course yet non were able to beat the time with a full house score. As a result of poles tumbling to the ground, it appeared strategy changed as riders instead opted for a clear by riding longer lines to collect maximum points. Yet sadly, many still fell afoul of the upright joker which featured a white plank.
Trevor Breen and Jicarla T rode a slower round, opting not to cut corners to take 44 points after clearing the joker, however when the clock was stopped 5 seconds behind the leader, it meant there was plenty of scope for other combinations to knock the pair down the leaderboard.
It was, without doubt, a fruitful class for the Irish contingent who produced strong, fast and clear rounds. It wasn’t until Mark Edwards (GBR) and his mount Flying Tinker II, who were fourth from last to go, took to the arena did Jessica’s class-long stronghold truly look under threat. The bay gelding flew around the arena, answering his rider’s every question to take a full house 44 score, to finish only 2/10ths of a second behind the leading time.
When Jessica was asked about how it felt to win at HOYS she replied:
“It’s amazing, it’s such an incredible feeling to canter down that centre line in front of the crowd, it’s just incredible really”.
Third place went to Shane Breen and Vistogrand, with William Funnell and Equine America Billy Picador finishing in 4th.
Still to come today is the Grandstand Challenge Cup, which will open up this evening’s International showjumping competition with the Puissance set to conclude the day’s activity.
Alongside showjumping, HOYS features a selection of championship classes to conclude a year’s long competition season for many different types of horses and their riders. For more information on this year’s event, visit hoys.co.uk