Norway’s Geir Gulliksen scored his second win of the show when he took Friday’s jump-off leg of the British Open Championship in Sheffield. After a disappointing round the previous day, Geir needed points towards a place in Sunday’s final, so he changed horses to the scopey chestnut Love Z.
This proved the right decision when the pair set an unbeatable target from second draw in a 17-horse jump-off, with Nick Skelton (Arko) and Robert Smith (Kalusha) also jumping lovely double clears to slot into second and third places.
“The fences went up a lot for the jump-off but that was good for me. The bigger the better for this horse,” said Geir.
Samantha McIntosh is the sole lady rider at the show, but she took a victory for the fairer sex in the earlier Grandstand Classic speed class. The New Zealander who jumps for Bulgaria won by almost 1.5sec on the irish-bred VDL Groep Calvaro Star from Robert Whitaker and Qualite.
Keith Shore received his invitation to the show only last Tuesday, so the man from Cheshire had no time to prepare. But this did not seem to matter to Keith’s speedy ride, Pakko, who took the £2,500 first prize in the accumulator by almost 1sec from last-drawn Harry Smolders and Rodenburgh’s Indiana.
The youngest riders were the stars of the World Class Under-23 Young Riders final. The honours went to 16-year-old Hannah Paul, whose round on her Dutch-bred Lucky reduced the standard by Sophie Broome and Carantina by more than 3sec.
In a terrific jump-off, John Crippen had the class won from final draw on Rogan Irco Dora when Judy Ross’s home-bred mare left a toe on the planks to finish in third place.