Diss rider Hood seals return to HOYS later this year

HEADING BACK: Oliver Hood and Royal Rock have qualified for the Horse of the Year Show Picture: SMR Photos
HEADING BACK: Oliver Hood and Royal Rock have qualified for the Horse of the Year Show Picture: SMR Photos

Diss-based rider Oliver Hood has secured his return to the renown Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) later this year.

A 10-hour round trip from Norfolk to the recent SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse (R2R) qualifier at Stretcholt, Somerset, paid off for Hood as he finished in second place to qualify for the prestigious event.

He partnered Yvonne Botham’s 12-year-old former flat campaigner, Royal Rock, to the runner-up spot in a hotly-contested qualifier.

Since coming out of training in October 2014, the former top-class sprinter – who has winnings of more than £140,000 to his name – has qualified for this prestigious SEIB showing 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.”

Helen Newbold rode Emporeror Jade to victory in the qualifier, while Rebecca Court on Beware Chalk Pitt, Donna Belmonte riding Valentine Jak, and Bryony Lovell-Williams with Village Cricket, completed the top five.

It is the third straight year Hood will ride Royal Rock in the HOYS, with this year’s event taking place between October 4 and 8.

Last year, Hood and Royal Rock finished in fourth place in the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse of the Year Championship.