Going into the last day, Billy Twomey leads the finalists in this year’s British Open Championship. The popular young Irishman’s consistency in the three qualifying classes at Sheffield’s Hallam Arena has left him at the head of affairs, but only half a fault ahead of German ace Franke Sloothaak, Switzerland’s world number three Markus Fuchs and British number one Robert Smith. 2004 champion Nick Skelton is also well in contention, less than a fence behind.
Clear rounds were hard to come by in the final speed leg, but Franke Sloothaak produced a fabulous winning performance on his eight-year-old Aquino, a horse he believes has championship potential. They won by 7sec from Markus Fuchs and Silver, with Mark Armstrong third for Britain on Thesaura.
Honours were shared on this penultimate day. The puissance produced a repeat of last year’s HOYS class, with John Whitaker (Exploit De Roulard) and Ben Maher (Eperlan De Fouquet) jumping off in the final round. The honours again went to 22-year-old Ben, who cleared 7ft 21/2in with ease to take the £4,000 prize.
Keith Shore gained his second win of the show when Pakko flew round in the topscore to beat John Whitaker and Lactic Two, while Belgian star Kristof Cleeren produced a great round from last draw to head the Thomas Bates & Son jump-off class on his lovely grey Cardoso Van De Helle.
England made a terrific start in the Home International, with all four riders in the top five of the individual competition. This was won by a storming round from young rider Lance Whitehouse on Simson.