All eyes were on leading showman Robert Walker on day three of the 2022 Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) as he stepped into the Catplant Group of Companies Ltd HOYS hunter of the year championship riding Jill Day’s winning lightweight hunter View Point (Sean).
The 11-year-old gelding, who needs no introduction, has won the HOYS hunter championship in 2017, 2018 and 2021, and Robert was doing all he could possibly do to ensure that the reigning Royal International (RIHS) supreme horse and four-time Royal Windsor champion would take his fourth HOYS crown.
“Two weeks ago I wasn’t going to bring him here,” admitted Robert. “We just didn’t think we could improve on last year and he’s had such a fantastic season that we decided that we could give one of the other horses a chance.
“Jill never, ever interferes with the entries — she always leaves it to me — but she told me that she’d really like him to go to HOYS. She said that he’s our horse of a lifetime and that he’s here to be enjoyed, win, lose or draw.”
While Sean is undoubtedly Robert’s ultimate superstar, the Cheshire producer had a hard decision to make ahead of the championship, as he’d also qualified winning middleweight Crystal Cove, a six-year-old HOYS debutante, for the final reckoning.
“He felt amazing and I half thought about riding him, but how the hell do I get off Sean; I just didn’t want to get off him,” said Robert, who passed Crystal Cove’s reins to his wife Sarah, who ended as reserve champion. “He’s just so special. Many of my horses go home for a holiday, but Sean doesn’t. My daughter always leads him to the field and as well as being a winner he’s so nice to be around.
“Crystal Cove — who we bought from Dessie Gibson as a tw0-year-old and we call Fish at home — is a Covid novice so he’s had few outings. He was champion novice at Three Counties last year, and he won the novices at Staffordshire County and Cheshire County this year. He did one qualifier this year.
“He’s one of those horses who everyone always compliments and he’s got a bright future ahead of him. We were low on staff today at home as he’s one of the groom’s favourite horses and she had to be here today to watch him.”
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Credit: 1st Class Images
Credit: Peter Nixon
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