“Impulse buy” goes all the way
SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse (R2R) regular Helen Newbold landed the top Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) R2R ticket with a superb display on her “impulse buy”, the former Flat campaigner Emperors Jade.  It has been a year of mixed fortunes so far for Helen, winner of the SEIB R2R HOYS final in 2013 with Deep Reflection, because she lost her 2015 SEIB R2R runner-up, Tycoons Reflection, due to ongoing soundness issues.

Helen, who runs a breaking, pre-training and livery yard near Milton Keynes with her husband Jason, bought the 12-year-old Emperors Jade (JJ) — here contesting only his fifth show — at the end of last year after spotting an advert for him on the internet.  “With Tycoon being on the sidelines, I was undecided about having another one, but I spotted an advert for JJ as an all-rounder,” said Helen. “I was really only being nosy but I always have my eyes open looking for the next one — if you are looking seriously, you never find.”

A 10-hour round trip from Norfolk paid off for Diss-based Oliver Hood when Yvonne Botham’s 12-year-old Royal Rock claimed his HOYS ticket in second place. Since coming out of training in October 2014, the former top-class sprinter has qualified for this final twice before.

“He wasn’t quite developed enough in 2015 so was unplaced [at HOYS], but he was fourth there last year,” said Oliver’s father, producer Allister. “His strength is the ride he gives — he’s just so soft and smooth with a lovely rhythm and stride.”

Results for Stretcholt:
1st Helen Newbold riding Emporeror Jade
2nd Oliver Hood riding Royal Rock
3rd Rebecca Court riding Beware Chalk Pitt
4th Donna Belmonte riding Valentine Jak
5th Bryony Lovell-Williams riding Village Cricket