Great Britain Nations Cup rider Holly Smith ended an eventful opening day for her at the Horse of the Year Show in Birmingham by landing the Addington Manor Talent Seekers class. Holly had a crashing fall during the Cuddy Working Hunter of the Year Championship on Wednesday afternoon, but regrouped brilliantly to guide home Lammy Beach in the Talent Seekers, winning by more than two seconds in the jump-off from Northamptonshire’s Sophie Fawcett and Winning Good, who landed the incorporated seven-year-old championship, and Tracey Newman, riding Challenge, in third.
“I’ve had three jumping horses today and a working hunter – I’ve ended up on my face on one, had an eight faults and a four faults, and my last one pulled it out of the bag. I meant business in that jump-off,” Leicestershire-based Holly said.
“I set off at a real good lick. He is used to jumping on big grass rings, he’s used to me daring him, and he answered me. He has jumped clear in a three-star grand prix, he has jumped international stairways clear, and he just keeps doing it. He’s only eight-years-old. I can’t fault him.”
Holly sold her previous top horse – Nations Cup ride Dougie Douglas – a while ago, but she has built a quality string of horses in rapid time. “I was expecting it to take me a few years to rebuild, but since I sold Dougie Douglas I have had more time to devote to my young horses, and they have come to the fore much quicker than I expected,” she added.
“I am hoping that maybe he (Lammy Beach) could jump a Nations Cup next year, maybe a lower division one. I am going to go abroad with him a bit more, and try to get him mileage over the bigger tracks with the technicality and travelling. I’ve got a definite plan for the horse.”
For Sophie, it was an emotional seven-year-old success after her grandfather passed away late on Tuesday night. “My grandfather had always been a wonderful supporter of showjumping, so this was for him. I am sure he is looking down on me,” she said. “I know he would have been so proud.”