BUOYED by success at the Australian Junior Showjumping Championships, Jake Hunter has set his sights on the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.
After finishing runner-up for the past two years, Hunter claimed his first junior national title aboard Midnight Rock in Werribee earlier this month.
The Singleton 16-year-old followed that up with more joy at the Melbourne Royal, where he was crowned the junior champion rider. He won his second junior crown at the Sydney Royal earlier this year.
"It was a great thrill to finally win the national title," Hunter said.
"I had got second the two years before and was really close."
Hunter competed on three horses at the nationals - Midnight Rock, Oh I Say and Cocomo.
Entering the final day, he filled three of the top five places. Midnight Rock was first, Oh I Say second and Cocomo fourth.
After disappointing rounds on Cocomo and Oh I Say, Hunter pulled himself together and completed a clear run on Midnight Rock to win by a margin of nine penalty faults.
"It was nerve-racking," he said.
"I didn't go too well on the first couple of horses. Midnight Rock was the last horse out and I knew I had eight penalty points to spare and thankfully I managed a clear run."
Jake's national title came 30 years after his mother Gail Hunter (nee Powell) won the inaugural junior showjumping title at Mount Penang aboard former buck jumper All Alone.
"Mum didn't tell me she won it 30 years ago until after I had won," Hunter said.
"It was a big thrill."
Hunter, who is in year 10 at Singleton High, will contest the NSW Indoor Showjumping titles in Tamworth from January 25, but his long-term goal is the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing.
"I'm the right age so hopefully I can qualify for that and then find enough money to go," Hunter said.
"It is always a struggle."
Hunter has five competition horses of which Midnight Rock is his favourite. The 12-year-old is a former thoroughbred who has been in the Hunters' stable for 10 years.
Hunter holds the record as the youngest rider to represent Australia at a World Junior Showjumping event, in Colombia when he was 12. He finished ninth.