By Joy Ringrose
Cooran showjumper Billy Raymont has his sight on the Olympics after Sunday’s win in the prestigious Boneo Park World Cup Qualifier. Having had a brilliant overseas campaign in 2018, he is now on track to compete on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Anton. Billy describes Anton as a ‘Freak’, because of his exceptional ability to combine high jumping with speed and agility. As soon as Anton joined Billy’s team of show jumpers in 2016, Billy knew that he had an Olympic prospect on his hands. Owned by Michelle Clark, and coming from South Australia, he was a horse that was easily spooked, and inclined to stop at jumps. Billy gave Anton confidence, and has now had numerous World Cup Qualifier wins on this horse. Anton played a major role in helping Billy win the 2017 Pacific League World Cup Series.
In the Boneo Park event, the jumping course proved to be challenging for most of the field. Only five of the 20 starters recorded clear rounds, the fastest of which were Billy and Anton, in a time of 80.88 seconds. In order to make up the minimum number of 12 participants in the second round the five clears were joined by the five 4-faulters and the two fastest 8-faulters.
Billy’s overseas experience came to the fore in the jump-off, where he saw that the only way to win was to take inside tracks at speed, rather than going around obstacles to get a safer run at these big jumps. If he and Anton could go clear, they would place no lower than second. The win would be theirs if they could go clear in less than 55.70 seconds. Billy attacked the course with confidence and speed, and rode a very nice clear round in 49.90 to take the win by a stunning 5.8 seconds.
“Winning these World Cup Qualifiers means a lot to us, it is the pinnacle of our sport here in Australia,” he said. “It was hard to know what to do, I wasn’t sure whether to take the two inside turns or not but I decided that for this horse it is probably better to just go at it, and he felt great.”
Billy’s partner, and fellow World Cup rider, Tess Cook, also did well at Boneo Park, winning the 1.40m class held at this event.