Horse of the Year Puissance win to Robert Whitaker

An unusually large class of 23 horses and riders took to the arena in the crowd-pleasing Puissance at Britain`s Diamond Jubilee Horse of the Year last night.

But by the fifth round the 23 had been whittled down to just two riders - Robert and Ellen Whitaker. Ellen gave her all to clear the wall which stood at seven foot and three inches but was unlucky to have a brick out. Robert however, cleared the wall to a rapturous applause of an enthralled NEC crowd. He was crowned HOYS Puissance Champion 2008 in front of the 8000 capacity audience.

Earlier, Michael Whitaker kicked off the penultimate day of Britain`s Diamond Jubilee Horse of the Year Show with a thrilling win on Fairviews Mirabelle D`or the Xerox Special Event Service Cup.

Whitaker set an unbeatable time, although Guy Williams on Onyx V was hot on his heels with only 0.01 seconds separating the two maestros. Young talent William Whitaker, took third place on It`s Super Girl in this exciting speed class.

The youngest show jumpers at HOYS competed in the 128cms Championship class which is only open to riders under 12 years of age. Millie Allen had a truly outstanding round, winning the class on Matthew`s Girl. Amy Inglis took second place on her pony J`s Junior. Third place went to Imogen Pinney riding Show Me Again.

Next came the bigger ponies and bigger fences in the HOYS 138cms Championship. With only two in the jump-off, last year`s runner up, Jessica Crosby with Fountain Ranger, stole the show in the fastest time of 33.61 seconds. Laura Robinson and Orlando XI`s round was not quite fast enough, with a time of 34.33 seconds and she had to settle for second place. Lara Whiteway riding My Bugsy Malone followed in third place as the fastest rider with four faults.

The Bob Hurford Memorial Cup proved to be tough competition for first place with five clears in the jump-off. Jurgen Stenfert from the Netherlands is having a fantastic run here at HOYS and took the lead with a lightning round of 34.65 seconds. The Brits were close on his heels in 2nd and 3rd place, Robert Smith and Paul Barker respectively, both with extremely fast times.

Robert Whitaker produced an electrifying round on Mandy Hall`s Rusedski II in last night`s Accumulator class. He set what proved to be an unbeatable time of 43.49 seconds. Jurgen Stenfert came the closest to threatening Robert`s time but had to settle for second place. Competitors accumulate points for every jump they clear; double points are for the taking if they clear the Joker which is the biggest fence of the course. British riders were very strong in this International competition, securing three of the top six places. Andrew Davies who gained a Wildcard entry to HOYS has been in the money all week, and put a valiant performance to get 6th on the extremely sharp Wonderful Melody Van de Helle.

After coming so close to victory in Wednesday`s Squibb and Davies Junior Foxhunter Championship, Emily West took the Blue Chip Junior Newcomers title on Friday after flying through a superb jump-off round on Scharonie. The pair were followed closely by Pippa Allen riding Farouk Van de Schanshoeve in a time of 30.55 seconds. Rachael Connor and Kellys Mirah took third in 32.63 seconds.

The Dick Turpin Stakes saw Billy Twomey, who scored his first international win since a fall in April in the Sylvia Barnes Memorial Cup on Thursda, continuing his fantastic run at HOYS with another win riding Fantasia. But even without the accident his achievement would have been remarkable, as unbelievably he only started riding the eight-year-old mare just over two weeks ago. The competition was on fire, and Ellen Whitaker on her veteran Cortaflex Kanselier, the third to go, set a scorching pace and a time of 59.45 seconds that no one could beat until Twomey and Fantasia raced round in 59.21. Third place went to Sweden`s Linda Heed with Columbus H, winner of Thursday`s Vinopolis Trophy, who went clear but was 4.10 seconds slower than Whitaker. Equestrian correspondent, Alan Smith, who has been writing for the Telegraph for an impressive 48 years, presented the Dick Turpin Stakes trophy to Billy.

Hanna Paul was crowned the HOYS Young Riders Champion of Great Britain after jumping the only double clear round of the class on Saffier Van De Kreek. Jemma Kirk and Wexford claimed the second spot with four faults and a time of 38.30 seconds closely followed by Louis Godber riding Gabriana also with four faults and a time of 41.36 seconds.

Great Britain`s number one show jumper, Robert Whitaker, took first prize on Rusedski II in one of the most competitive classes this week. The Andrews Bowen Classic is an exciting one round competition where riders go flat out to finish with the best time. Robert`s father John, riding Lactic 2, narrowly missed the top spot by a quarter of a second. Third place went to Irish rider Billy Twomey riding Whinny Jackson.

It was another Whitaker one-two in the last class of the day, the Diamond Jubilee Cup, which was extremely competitive due to the 13,000 prize fund and world ranking points on offer. Not fazed by the tough competition, Robert Whitaker secured his second victory of the day. He rode a double clear on Lacroix 9 in 44.99 seconds to snatch the title, top prize money and the all important world ranking points. Once again, his father John was just behind on Leandros De Semilly and Guy Williams followed in third riding Torinto Vd Middelstede.