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The packed crowd at the Liverpool International Horse Show were treated to a British one-two when William Funnell and Peter Charles filled the top spots in the battle for the Horse & Hound Trophy (2 January).

William triumphed on the experienced home-bred stallion Billy Congo, a horse he billed as “back in the big time” after a spell away from top-flight jumping while concentrating on stud duties. The 15-year-old will be aimed at Nations Cup teams this season. H&H columnist William is not ruling out a Rio campaign.

Peter rode a brilliant round on his own exciting prospect Dauphin, a rising eight-year-old mare by Memphis, formerly ridden by his stable jockey Pippa Goddard. He took over the ride when she broke her arm and has no plans to relinquish the reins now; he told H&H that “nobody is going to nick her off me!”

It was an emotional result for Peter, who is a rider local to the show and was thrilled to see top-class showjumping return to the North.

“In my lifetime I thought it would never happen – everything seems to happen down south. We can’t believe the level of commitment and the reception we’ve had.”

There were 12 clears in the first round, with five British riders going through to the jump-off. William threw the gauntlet down from second draw with the powerful Vechta x Animo stallion, and left all the remaining riders chasing him.

Ireland’s leading man Dermot Lennon (Fleur IV) was the only other competitor who could leave the fences up, but last-to-go Billy Twomey had the spectators holding their breath – he was almost a full second up on the clock, before taking an agonising brick out at the final fence with his reliable campaigner Diaghilev.

The Liverpool International Horse Show concludes tomorrow, 3 January. Don’t miss the full report in Horse & Hound, out 7 January.