Kim Smith’s nine-year-old Thoroughbred Rathnaleen Gothic oozed presence in the Topspec Arena on day four of Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) to take the first showing Championship of the morning, the Sandal BMW Intermediate Show Riding Type of the Year.
Recent university graduate Lizzie Smith rode the black gelding by Rathnaleen Sinatra to victory, going one better from their Reserve Champion spot last year. Martin Wood’s DP UK Nightdancer ridden my Michaela Wood stood Reserve.
Lizzie, who has had the horse for four years, said: “He was amazing today. Absolutely foot perfect and he held it together for himself.”
Producer Adam Winbourne explained how Rathnaleen Gothic’s personality gives him the edge in the ring: “He is an edgy horse and cheeky too. He also has a tremendous amount of presence and he performs best in the ring when he’s just on the edge, but doesn’t show it.”
Rathnaleen Gothic has a strong track record in this Championship at HOYS, placing every year since 2013, each time partnered by Lizzie. He was also Champion at Royal Windsor earlier this year.
Second in the 158cm section behind Lizzie and Rathnaleen Gothic was Amy Bosworth’s Mimento ridden by Lucy Glover. In the 153cm section, Karen Gillott’s Sharlen Royal Enclosure took second behind Michaela and DP UK Nightdancer. All four went forward to contest the Championship.
Image credit ES Photography