Ireland’s Shane Breen was the winner of the Zinc Management Speed Horse of the Year class, held on the final day of HOYS.
Riding the 10-year-old gelding Acoustik Solo du Baloubet, Shane went clear in a time of 44.69sec to take the £3,300 top prize.
Fellow Irishman Billy Twomey was second with Ardcolum Duke, while Britain’s Guy Williams finished third with Casper de Muze. Guy was quicker than the eventual winners, but a fence down added two penalties to his time, dropping him to third.
“I watched Billy go, which I thought was the marker, and yesterday in the accumulator I was a fraction slower than Billy, so I knew our horses are about the same speed,” Shane said. “He had one extra stride to the double, so I thought if I could go one less stride there I could get a smidgen up. I just did enough to put some pressure on Guy, and it worked.”
According to Hickstead-based Shane, his winning horse is super reliable against the clock.
“The good thing about him is you don’t have to ride fast to be fast. You can turn him on a sixpence, and he can jump out of anywhere. I think one stride is enough for him! He is a perfect speed horse, but he has jumped four star Grands Prix clear and jumped a World Cup class and the Hickstead Derby, so he is very versatile.”
Louise Saywell had her second international win of the week in the Horse of the Year Show Challenge Cup.
She won by more than four seconds on 11-year-old gelding Feigtling, with James Smith and Balibu in second and Shane Breen, riding Tango d’Ecry, finishing third.
“He got all the turns, but being first in, I didn’t think we would stay in the lead and win,” Nottinghamshire-based Louise said. “He jumped great in the first phase, and then it was about going as fast as we could. He managed to get all the turns, but when I came out of the arena I thought there would be faster rounds, but luckily for me, there weren’t.”
Louise Simpson (nee Pavitt) won the Speedi-Beet Grade C Championship for a second time.
Riding the seven-year-old gelding Hello Vivendi, who is owned by Shane and Trevor Breen, she went clear in the jump-off in 39.88sec to beat Robert Bevis and Etude in second.
“Although he’s seven, he is actually very inexperienced. I got the ride on him about six months ago, purely because he was quite green and Shane and Trevor didn’t have time with all the foreign shows they do, and didn’t think he was ready,” said Louise.
“We’ve done a few local shows, and I thought here he would be a bit shell-shocked with the whole atmosphere, but he was like an old horse, which really surprised me. He was really good.”