Smith gets new Poden Farms partnership off to flying start

Holly Smith won today's Billy Stud Auction All England Six Year Old Championship 

Holly Smith & Londontime I (5)

Olympic rider Holly Smith, who recently joined the Poden Farms team of riders, won today’s feature class at the All England September Tour at Hickstead.

Riding Londontime, Holly won the Billy Stud Auction Six Year Old Championship, finishing just 0.33sec quicker than Ireland’s Jessica Burke, riding Lizzie Bunn’s Billy Mufasa.

Seven combinations made it through to the jump-off with just four of these going double clear. Holly made the most of her final draw, producing a perfectly-judged round with the relatively inexperienced Londontime to take the win.

“Londontime is a green horse, I’ve slowly built him up and haven’t really gone against the clock with him until today,” says Holly, who represented Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics. “The ground conditions are a little bit wet so that took a bit of handling, but the horse had to learn to turn up to fences, be bold and turn quickly, and he did that brilliantly. I’m delighted with him.”

Holly describes him as a wonderful young horse. “He’s got all the attributes to go to the top. I’ve sat on some nice horses but he would be one of the nicest, and we’re all very excited about him,” says the Leicestershire-based rider, who has used Hickstead’s two-week tour to get used to a number of her new rides.

Jessica Burke might have missed out on the Six Year Old title but she repeated her win in the Five Year Olds, this time with Louisa Church’s Romelus De Muze. The pair were the quickest of three in the jump-off.

“He’s one we’re very excited about, we bought him at the Sunshine Tour in Spain. I think he’s a proper Grand Prix horse for the future,” said Jessica.

In the All England Four Year Old Championship, eight combinations finished equal first on a double clear, with just one, Billy Master and Connie Gill, owned by one of our resident judges, Nicola Stern, being the only one to finish top of the line both weeks.

In a repeat of last week, event rider Gemma Stevens took the Breen Equestrian 1.40m Open with MGH Candy Girl. “I’ve had her since a four-year-old and she’s now nine,” said Gemma. “We started jumping our first ranking classes at the end of last year so we’re very much learning together. We’re hoping to go to Villamoura and jump some ranking classes there, and hopefully start doing some three-star Grands Prix.”

The show continues until Sunday afternoon, with the action livestreamed throughout on Hickstead.TV and ClipMyHorse.TV. Admission and parking is free to spectators.

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