“THERE are definitely big things to come from him,” said Tahnia Jordan-Jones, as her phenomenal part-bred Welsh Jumper became the first pony for 15 years to take twin victories in the newcomers and Foxhunter finals.
The 11-year-old pony launched his HOYS blitz by leading an 18-strong jump-off from first draw in the newcomers, before snatching a thrilling Foxhunter as the last to go.
The partnership also came within an excruciating pole of a treble victory — settling for fourth in the leading pony showjumper when they set the fastest time but just tapped the final fence behind.
“I knew he was talented but it was his experience I was worried about. I thought somewhere like this that he might not perform as well but it didn’t faze him at all,” said 15-year-old Tahnia, who started the sensitive grey out quietly at the beginning of the season, and ended it just missing out on a European team slot.
“We’ve built a relationship with each other; I put my trust in him and he performs each time,” she said. “Since I was in 128cm I’ve been coming here and I’ve been waiting for the right time — this pony is the special one.”
First draw can sometimes be an advantage, as a quick opening jump-off performance can force others to fault, but no one came close to surmounting Tahnia’s pathfinding round in the newcomers.
While Nicole Lockhead Anderson trumped her time by 0.14 of a second on Gangnam
Style II, the next quickest clear — from Madison Jamison and Flavia — was 3.77 seconds slower. There were seven double clears, with Courtney Young and Zucan V taking third a further 1.35 seconds off the winning pace.
“He has a massive stride and it was nice to have a track with long gallops to fences — you don’t get that very often as there are a lot of twisty courses. He’s a pony that loves to really move on,” Tahnia commented.
JORDAN-JONES LEARNS FROM EXPERIENCE
FOXHUNTER victory was harder-won but generated one of the most enthralling jumpoffs of the show, gripping the Saturday-afternoon crowd.
Third to go Lily Freeman Attwood and Capability Brown established the first clear in a very competitive 37.73 seconds, which held the lead until a fast and smooth round from Allana Clutterbuck and Atomic Du Bary in penultimate draw slashed 0.75 of a second.
It looked like there was little room for manoeuvre but Tahnia and the super-scopey grey still snipped 0.3 of a second from the target.
“I didn’t see Allana go but everyone said I needed to really move on. I know their partnership is great, it’s a really good pony and they were very close to us in the newcomers final as well,” she said.
It was Tahnia’s mistake at the last in the leading pony showjumper that helped create her victory, as she had to navigate a similar final line.
“It was quite a short four in the [leading pony showjumper] jump-off and I held too much and he didn’t have time to get off the floor. In the Foxhunter I held and then allowed him to make a shape and it paid off,” she said.
GREIG RELISHES HER CHANGING FORTUNES
SCOTLAND’S Shaunie Greig finally put aside a run of bad luck at the NEC to take the leading pony showjumper title, piloting her grandmother Anne’s 14-yearold Casino Royale VIII.
A 10-strong jump-off field ensured a quick and quality second phase that included last year’s winner Tixylix (this time ridden by Eleanor Hall-McAteer) as well as pony European team squad members Allana Clutterbuck (Sultan Du Bary) and Lily Freeman Attwood (Valmy De Treille).
There were only three eventual double clears, the first of which came from Hannah Barker and Ammanvalley Santino; who were then undercut by a dramatic
9.63 seconds by Allana and her experienced selle Français gelding.
Three from last, Shaunie opened the throttle with her Irish pony, surviving a hairy moment when they got very close to the second part of the double, to land the win by 1.56 seconds.
“It was a difficult line from the postbox vertical to the double and we had a bit of luck there, he nearly unseated me on the way out,” Shaunie explained. “I’ve won at Hickstead twice but I’ve
‘He was awkward when I first got him and used to crash into fences. I never thought he’d jump this big’
SHAUNIE GREIG ON LEADING PONY SHOWJUMPER CASINO ROYALE VIII
never done well here so it was definitely one I wanted.”
The 14-year-old has ridden the gelding for two years, producing him from 1.10m level.
“He was really awkward to ride when I first got him and he used to crash into fences and rush. I never thought he’d jump anything as big as this,” she added.
Sonas Barney claimed
The Stable Company 138cm championship for the second time in three years, this time partnered by Madison Heath.
The 20-year-old gelding produced the fastest of two double clears from five jump-off starters, axing 1.88 seconds off Jake Myers and The Agent’s early lead.
This partnership already had wins at Bolesworth and the national championships on their card this season, but the HOYS title has been very much in the 12-year-old rider’s sights.
“I was so determined to win it and I’m so happy to have finally done it. Now Dad [Graham] doesn’t have to keep saying,
‘You have to win HOYS!’” joked Madison, who had previously taken the runner-up spot in the 128cm championship in 2015 on Red Alert.
The 128cm championship is always a robust challenge and this year was no exception, with just two riders making it through to the second round.
Although faults were scattered, a plank oxer at fence three was the biggest bogey, eliciting a raft of refusals and knockdowns.
It was Aimee Jones and the reliable 18-year-old Koda — who hasn’t been outside of the top three in this championship for the past three years — who was drawn first in the two-way jumpoff, producing a clear round in 50.14 seconds.
Their time around the long, galloping jump-off track was however swiftly usurped by Scotland’s Amy Morris and the 14-year-old Madonna.
They stopped the clock clear in 45.8 seconds to seize the title.
“I have always wanted to jump here but to win on my first time is unbelievable,” Amy said, who also qualified last year but didn’t compete as the pony “wasn’t quite right”.
“A lot of the other kids had a lot of poles down, so I didn’t think I’d even jump clear,” she added. “She jumps most things, so I was confident, but we did nearly have the postbox fence down. Sometimes she helps me out a lot.”
‘I was so determined to win it and I’m so happy to have done it’ 138CM CHAMPION MADISON
HEATH (SONAS BARNEY)
‘There are big things to come from him’: Jumper scores a rare twin triumph in the newcomers and Foxhunter finals, ridden by Tahnia Jordan-Jones
Casino Royale VIII takes the leading pony showjumper title with Shaunie Greig
Sonas Barney claims the 138cm championship for the second time in three years, ridden by Madison Heath
HOYS debutant Amy Morris wins the 128cm title riding Madonna