A last-minute decision to compete in the Thistledown Puissance paid off for Holly Smith when she became the sole rider to jump clear in the fifth round to win the £5,100 top prize.

Riding the 18hh stallion Quality Old Joker, the horse with whom she came sixth in the Senior Foxhunter Final on Thursday, Holly cleared 2.20m (7ft 3in) in round five to take the title.

“He’s only eight, and I wasn’t going to enter him, but he nearly won the Foxhunter final earlier this week, so I decided after that to enter the puissance,” Holly said. “It was great to begin with, but the last round was very scary. The wall was massive for the final round, but luckily I have got a massive horse and I trust him implicitly.”

Four other riders made it to the fifth round but none managed to clear the big red wall, leaving Peter Smyth, James Smith, Joss Williams and 18-year-old Christopher Megaheyin joint second.

Watch highlights of the Puissance tonight (Sunday 9 October) at 7.30pm on Horse & Country. Watch on Sky 253 or online via H&C Play

Image credit Julian Portch

thistledown-puissance-julian-portch-1

Horse & Country’s coverage of HOYS is brought to you in association with TopSpec. Watch the daily highlights show on H&C TV each night at 7.30pm from Thursday to Monday. Watch on Sky 253 or sign up to H&C Play to watch on your computer, smart phone or tablet.