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Once again the Atherstone Hunt Prince Philip cup team won at the Horse of the Year show. Although they had won virtually every tournament that year, they still only won on the very last race at the NEC.

Atherstone win Prince Philip Cup

EXPERIENCE paid off as the green ribbons of the Atherstone Hunt decorated the Farmers Guardian Prince Philip Cup last night after a week of fast, thrilling competition at the Horse of the Year Show.

The Atherstone, trained for 25 years by Jane Smith, were consistent all week, going into the final just in the lead, but with just six points separating all four teams the result was completely dependent on that evening’s performance.

The other three teams who had qualified for the final were the West Perthshire, the Banwen and the Oakley, while the Eglington and the Percy cheered from the sidelines.

The Atherstone team won the first race, the Farmers Guardian chase, and were in the lead the sock race that followed when disaster struck and their last rider missed the bucket and took a fall from the pony, dropping the team down into last place in that race whilst the Oakley took highest points.

Regaining their composure, the Atherstone then put in a scorching performance to win the balloon race, before coming a slightly disappointing third in the stepping stones and five-flag races.

Points were close going into the final race - the four-in-a-sack – but the Atherstone gave everything they had to cross the line first, ensuring their place in Pony Club history as the 2007 winners of the Prince Philip Cup.

It was a fantastic result for the team, who have been training hard since they qualified for HOYS in July. Jess Leeson, Matt Clingo, Katie King, Eddie Surman and Florence Woodward, with Sarah Farnsworth as sixth member, are in their second year as a team and, having ridden together at HOYS in 2006, knew what to expect.