Louise Saywell produced a dominant display to win the Horse of the Year Show Challenge Cup in emphatic fashion at the NEC in Birmingham.
It was Louise’s second international triumph at this year’s show, as she landed the two-phase class by more than four seconds on 11-year-old gelding Feigtling from James Smith and Balibu, with Ireland’s Shane Breen, riding Tango d’Ecry, finishing third.
Belgium’s Jos Verlooy, who was drawn last to go on Farfelu de la Pomme, shaved 69 hundredths of a second off Louise’s time, but the combination had a late fence down which destroyed victory hopes.
“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.
“The first two days of the show weren’t great for me – we were having fences down – but today and yesterday it just all seems to have come together. If I don’t win another class here this year, I will still be very happy.
“I have had the horse a couple of months now. We did think he would come here and should have a chance of winning, and he was more settled in there today. He will be a big-jumping horse, for sure.
“It’s just getting to know him, and next year he will be in the bigger jump-off classes. He is just fantastic, and I am lucky to have him. The more and more I have done with him, the more he has impressed.”