Find out why Tim was unexpectedly given the ride, and the logistical challenge he will face ahead of Sunday’s supreme, in our video interview (below):
Tim, who has represented Great Britain in showjumping on several occasions, including at the 2006 World Equestrian Games, is a former working hunter pony rider but he has not been in the show ring for more than 10 years.
Tim’s sister, Pollyanna, bought Grand Conan earlier this term to hunt and compete in worker classes, but passed over the ride when she suffered a knee injury.
“She had a bad fall just before we bought the horse and wasn’t comfortable riding him, so she asked me to do a qualifier and then, when we qualified, asked me to ride Grand Conan here,” said Tim.
“You always want to try and win but I haven’t done workers for a long time. I train the horse at home, doing bullfinches and other things we might see in the arena, but at end of the day he’s very straightforward so not a lot of training is needed.”
The nine-year-old Grand Conan was one of only six horses to jump clear around David Cole’s 12-fence course earlier today. He earned the highest style mark of 19 from the judges, Beanie Sturgis (ride) and Chris Hewlett (conformation).
“It was quite a tricky course,” added Tim. “It didn’t need to be any smaller, but it was decent enough and the double of walls caused problems.”
Tim is travelling to Portugal tomorrow to compete in showjumping, but hopes to return to Birmingham on Sunday in order to ride Grand Conan in the supreme that evening.
“I’ll have to look at flight times, but I definitely want to come back,” he confirmed.
Bodieve Toyboy (Andrew Williams) stood reserve, with Dartans Barrack (Fiona Hirst) finishing third.
Don’t miss the HOYS report in next week’s issue of Horse & Hound, on sale 15 October.