Oliver Smith (pictured) claimed the under-25 national title today at Bramham Horse Trials, but he certainly kept the crowd on the edge of their seats until the result was in the bag.
The overnight leader with Trinity Hill, Oliver, 24, had two fences in hand by the time he went into the show jumping arena. But he used up one at the first jump and as the round went on it was clear he would also have time-penalties — he could afford a few of these, or one more down, but not both.
In the end, he coaxed the bay gelding over the remaining fences clear to become the first boy to win this title since 2003.
“I went in in a bit of a daze and the whole round was a blur,” admitted Oliver. “I rode like a muppet to the first fence but I think it did me good — I rode better after that. You can’t hurry him, so I tried to find a happy medium.”
Ireland’s Elizabeth Power, 23, jumped a rare clear round with Kilpatrick River to move up from fifth after cross-country to the runner-up spot, while 21-year-old Angus Smales’s single error elevated him to third with Saxon Cross.
1. Trinity Hill (Oliver Smith, GB) 61.7
2. Kilpatrick River (Elizabeth Power, IRL) 63.9
3. Saxon Cross (Angus Smales, GB) 69.8
4. Ballybolger Bushman (Sam Watson, GB) 71.5
5. Society Spice (Emily Llewellyn, GB) 72.3
6. Master Blaster II (Jade Lazenby, GB) 74.2
Log back on to www.horseandhound.co.uk later for a final report on the senior CCI*** from Bramham and don’t forget to buy H&H next Thursday (12 May) for a full report, colour photographs and William Fox-Pitt’s comment.