Torrential rain and thunder storms did not stop play at the Scottish Summer Extravaganza held at the Royal Highland show field where four tickets were on offer to qualify for this year’s Horse of the Year Show.

One young lady to be living the dream these days is Annabel Shields who has worked hard to become one of the leading lady riders in this country with wins at home and abroad consistently in the past couple of years.

The last few months have seen Durham-based Annabel winning in Ireland, Belgium and more recently at shows such as the Great Yorkshire, but it was two younger horses which took home the major spoils at this show.

The Foxhunter Second Round is the one everyone wants to win to set them off on the road to the finals in October where some of Britain’s most talented equine stars are spotted.

A slightly disappointing 27 came forward to contest this class possibly reduced by the extremely heavy rain which fell throughout the show turning the practice ring a bit soft although the main arena rode great all weekend.

Raf Suarez’s track asked questions throughout and with the weather adding another element to the results, 11 came forward to contest the first jump off where just two faulted leaving a healthy nine to go against the clock.

With the fences now standing well up to height, Emma Crawford riding the Scottish-bred Ferragamo L and in her first senior year made it look easy with a lovely clear from first draw.

The next two faulted before Declan Irvine entered on Richard Duncan’s Fendiela. Taking it lightly more carefully Declan posted a time four seconds slower than Emma but when the next three also faulted he must’ve been hopeful.

Rachel Connor was the penultimate rider to take her chance and it proved to be third time lucky for her and the lovely seven-year-old mare Fantastic, which had faulted at two previous qualifiers but made no mistakes here.

Turning tight back to the double they then took their time turning to the second last before setting up for the final upright to stop the clock on 41.14 and take the lead.

Last in, Annabel on the super scopey Rubin VHS are never to be discounted.

Setting off taking the eight strides between the first two fences their only rub came on the back bar of the double before opening out to the next oxer and landing to take an inside line turning back to the final line where she allowed this grey gelding to run to the last and leave the fence intact, which he did stopping the clock on the fastest time of the class, 38.60.

Bought as a five-year-old, Rubin VHS was bred in Aberdeen by Vikki Wight and is by her own stallion Zenith, himself a HOYS Foxhunter finalist in 2011 when ridden by Scott Brash.

This was just the icing on the cake for Annabel who had earlier in the show snatched a Newcomers final ticket bringing her tally of rides for HOYS up to three already.

This time, 52 horses entered to vie for the two qualifying tickets being dropped to 26 then a strong 17 for the third round against the clock.

With the fences raised and options of turns and angles plus everyone keen to post the quickest time faults appeared throughout with just five staying clear all the way to secure yet another chance at the British National Championships.

The winner came from 14th position when Annabel had had time to watch Douglas Duffin steer Gordon Baillie’s Moonface JX into what would be eventual fourth and Lisa Jones had gone that little bit quicker to slot Diana P into third.

Riding the six-year-old Gerona, a daughter of Bacardi VDL, Annabel made sure she was up to pace, daring this mare at the fences and never looking in any danger to once again record the fastest round of the whole class.

Watching her round from the entrance, Holly Miller entered knowing exactly what she had to do. Already through to the British National Championships and having only just missed out qualifying on a couple of occasions, it as their time to take a ticket as she steered her home-produced Vittorio son, Felicio round to finish one second in arrears but well ahead of the rest to score a popular and very well-deserved pace at the finals.

The Grand Prix was a lot quieter than usual with most of the visiting riders soaked to the bone and already packed up and off home then a torrential down pour before the start delayed it a few more minutes but those taking part were keen to secure the £500 first prize.

James Smith has been on incredible form recently when he took three grand prix wins in the space of a week but it was not quite to be here for him when riding his grandfather, Charlie McKerlie’s HOYS qualifier, Just Max, they spent too much time in the air leaving a bit of time to steal.

Rachel Connor came close with the attractive chestnut Zaha and James on the Gillespie’s Talent Spotter finalist Flinstering also coming home clear for fourth.

The winner was a young man on fire just now, Graham Babes with his own Boucheron.

Taking the same route as James but being far more economical over the fences as well as quicker across the ground especially when turning back to the final imposing upright this pair saw them stop the clock well in front of the rest to take the top prize.

Graham, who is part of the Horse Scotland Development squad has won two Scottish title classes in the last couple of weeks as well as classes further south and warmed up for this win with another in a well filled 1.30m on the first day of the show.

Just for good measure, Graham also finished fifth and sixth in the Newcomers second round with Glencoe and Farao M showing he has a depth of up and coming talent in his string ready to back Boucheron up.

Ailsa Black was unlucky to hit the last fence in the jump off with her own Indy iv, however, she had earlier in the show produced a very quick double clear to head the £250 to the winner 1.35m Open.

A Mini Grand Prix run over a 1.05m track with a first prize if £70 proved popular despite the wet conditions with top ten Bronze League finalist Megan Ballantyne leaving nothing to chance flying round on her ride of two years the Hermes De Reve sired mare Cookie De Reve.

Megan was closely followed by another consistent partnership, Natalie Devlin on her own Coulters Candy.

LEADING awards

1.15m Open-1, Zandrino MZ, J Dixon; 2, Van De Bay Girl, K Boyd; 3, JJ’s Impressive, J Hewitt. Newcomers Second Round-1, Gerona, A Shields; 2, Felicio, H Miller; 3, Diana P, L Jones. National 1.30m-1, Bouheron, G Babes; 2, Hugana Vant Heike, L Guild; 3, Zaha, R Connor. Discovery-1, Emily Little, S Low Mitchell; 2, My Lady Dolly, K Brown; 3, Saskia Sinseir, J Thompson. 1m Open-1, Starfield Diva, I Drummond; 2, Badgerhill Euro, A Grant; 3, Hold Up Princess, I Drummond. Mini Grand Prix-1, Cookie De Reve, M Ballantyne; 2, Coulters Candy, N Devlin; 3, Valentines Praline, K Aird. Newcomers-1, Hanleen Chaccoa, J Thompson; 2, Marata, K Diamond; 3, Hanleen Beatrice, R Pindar. 1.10m-1, Larino 0087, J Dixon; 2, Glow DK, L Stewart; 3, Ben Quice, N McArthur. 1.35m Open-1, Indy IV, A Black; 2, Queen Elisabeth, M Arnott; 3, Cameron Poe, A Bell. Foxhunter-1, Legaland Las Vegas, B Davidson; 2, Wings III, R Pindar; 3, Hanleen Beatrice. 1.25m Open-1, Ember Flight, J Hewitt; 2, Zaligra H, J Dixon; 3, Cancun II, L Stewart. 1.25m-1, Contessa M, S Buckley; 2, Queen Of Clubs, S Poznett; 3, Big Spender, S Laird. Foxhunter Second Round-1, Rubin VHS, A Shields; 2, Fantastic, R Connor; 3, Ferragamo L, E Crawford. 1.40m Grand Prix-1, Boucheron; 2, Just Max, J Smith; 3, Zaha. 1.20m-1, Ember Flight; 2, Karmijn, S Poznett; 3, Ballyhane Etto, J Smith.