An eight-year-old stallion who realised the second highest price at Fayre Oaks Sale two years ago has landed the ultimate accolade, becoming the first Welsh section A to claim the Blue Chip BSPS Heritage Ridden Mountain and Moorland Championship.
Uphill James Fox, bred by Cathie Pearse and owned by Tonwen Hughes, headed a field of 39 of the best M&M ponies in the country on Monday (19 December), perfectly presented by producer Katy Marriott-Payne, whose other charges, the New Forest Marleydene Nashaal, and Welsh section B Cadlanvalley Sandpiper were both best of breed.
“Jimmy was a prolific winner in-hand, including twice at Royal Welsh, before coming to my yard in October 2014 to be broken,” said Marriott-Payne. “His main job is as stud stallion for his owner, Mrs Hughes, and his ridden showing keeps him occupied in his spare time.”
Hughes bought the handsome grey, who is by Crumpwell Fox Wild out of Trefaes Silver Sapphire, for £8,100 at Fayre Oaks in September 2014. The pony won at the Royal Welsh — in classes of 40 or 50 — as a yearling and a three-year-old. He finished fourth in his section at Horse of the Year Show in October, but this is the first time he has been to Olympia.
Reserve champion here was the much-garlanded Highland, Benbreac of Croila, owned by Melanie Stanford and ridden by Matt Cooper. Performance judges Sharon Thomas and Kevin Walker awarded Benbreac 45 and 46 compared with Uphill James Fox’s 42 and 45, but the conformation marks from Stephen Howard and D Price Jones swayed the result in the section A’s favour. The closeness of the scores is an indication of the quality of these Olympia finalists.
Benbreac, who won the mountain and moorland supreme at Royal Windsor three years running, twice in-hand and once under saddle, was third at Olympia last year, so went one better this time.
Appropriately for this time of year, Lynuck The Snowman was third and best of the Welsh section Cs. The other best of breeds were Connemara, Slieve Bloom Jill; Dales Waterside Black Prince; section D Swchyrhafod Brenin; Fell Murthwaite Windrush; Dartmoor Newoak Furious; Shetland Brinleyview Camanchee, and Exmoor Dunkery Wigeon.
Image: Katy Marriott-Payne and Uphill James Fox win then BSPS Heritage Ridden Mountain and Moorland Championship at Olympia, by Kit Houghton, courtesy opf the Olympia London International Horse Show