Cooran showjumper Billy Raymont has capped off a successful overseas campaign by seeing the horse that he took to the top, Oaks Redwood, known as Baz, sold to Bill Gates’ showjumper daughter, Jennifer.
Billy took on Baz, and started competing him at World Cup level, in October last year. Both horse and rider quickly formed a formidable team, beating Australia’s best, and winning the 10-event Pacific League World Cup series.
Baz’s owners financially backed this horse and rider team in a nine-month overseas campaign that took them to Asia, Europe and North America. This very expensive investment payed great dividends, because Billy was able to give Baz the confidence to place consistently against the world’s best, adding enormous value to the horse before he was sold.
Initially, Billy and Baz travelled to Hong Kong where, as wildcard entries of unproven ability, they shone in the Longines Masters, in a field of 30 of the world’s very best horses and riders. On the opening night, in the 1.45m class against the clock, Billy jumped Baz a perfectly executed round to finish in 4th position against the world-class field. They were in the prize money for the rest of the series, too.
The pair then flew to Europe, to be based in Holland. They went on to win prize money in competitions in Holland, Germany, Belgium and France.
Billy’s Australian Pacific League series win qualified him to compete in the FEI World Cup Finals in Paris. There, they once again proved that they could hold their own competing on the world stage, finishing in a very respectable 32nd position. On the final night, in the 1.55m Grand Prix, riding against the crème de la crème of jumping, Billy and Baz placed a very impressive 9th . After Billy had a brief trip back to Australia, on his return the two came 18th out of 147 of the world’s best in Lier, Belgium. Having missed the first week of this two-week, 10-class competition, and only getting to compete in three classes, this was a truly spectacular result. They then headed to the US, to join the other members of the Australian Team in Tryon, for the World Equestrian Games (WEG). They finished the top 25 individually and helped the team finish in 6th position. This qualified Australia for showjumping at Tokyo in 2020. This result was the best that an Australian showjumping team has ever had at a World Games. After returning to Europe, Oaks Redwood was sold to the stables of Jos Verlooy, who competed him briefly, and successfully, before selling him last week to Jennifer Gates. Jennifer is now training with Baz under the world’s number one showjumper, Harry Smolders. Baz has proved to be a very adaptable horse. After being in the one family, the Tuckers, in Western Australia for most of his life to relocate to the other side of the country, go to a new home, with a new rider, and to quickly rise up to the top of the Australian league, is remarkable.
Bas is known to be a calm and consistent horse, who always gives his best. Billy, as his rider, with his superb eye for placement of the horse in front of the jumps, and strategic planning of the riding of each course, was able to give Baz the confidence, and experience, to take his place among the world’s best.
Back in Noosa Billly’s stables have two new fillies, with impeccable showjumping bloodlines and a bright future awaits.