Zoer pips Brash to title

  • Last Updated: October 7 2012, 23:06 BST

The Leading Showjumper of the Year grand prix provided a thrilling conclusion to five days' competition at the Horse of the Year Show on Sunday.

Scott Brash: Had to settle for second behind Zoer

A 22-strong field found itself thoroughly tested by London 2012 course builder Bob Ellis' track.

Just six combinations went clear, but a high-class jump-off included Great Britain's Olympic gold medallist Scott Brash and his fellow British Nations Cup riders Guy Williams and Will Funnell.

Dutch challengers Albert Zoer and Leon Thijssen also made it through, evoking memories of the London 2012 team jump-off when Britain beat Holland for the gold medal.

And this time the Dutch prevailed as Zoer piloted Sam to victory in a time of 38.09 seconds to collect the £13,200 winner's purse.

Brash set a blistering pace with Bon Ami, clocking 38.59 to lead the way, but last-to-go Zoer held his nerve, leaving Brash in second place with Funnell and Billy Congo third.

Earlier in the day, Egyptian showjumper Abdel Said landed the speed class crown in Birmingham.

The 23-year-old, who is based in Belgium, collected £6,600 after guiding Naiky d'Elca to the Vinopolis Speed Horse of the Year crown.

Drawn last to go from a 28-strong field, their clear round in 50.17 seconds denied long-time leader, Belgian Dirk Demeersman, who had to settle for the runners-up spot aboard Tymoon Caloo Meerchen.

Less than half a second separated the top four combinations, with Holland's Albert Zoer taking third on Vigo and Britain's Robert Whitaker fourth with Waterstone.

There was frustration for Brash, though, whose hopes of improving last year's second place with Sebastian ended through elimination.

Brash fell from Sebastian - ironically as they approached a Post Box fence that was used at London 2012 - although neither rider nor horse was hurt.

Hertfordshire teenager Chloe Aston, meanwhile, marked her 18th birthday by finishing as the second-highest British competitor in seventh spot.

But there was no denying Said his moment of triumph after he delivered the goods under intense pressure on his 11-year-old mare.

"It was great fun,'' he said.

"I knew I had a very fast horse so I knew I didn't have to overdo it. It was a case of making the tight turns.

"Yes, I took a big risk at the last fence, but I knew that if I had enough gallop the horse would normally clear it, and it worked out today.

"She is a very special horse and a very careful horse, and I knew I could take that risk at the final fence.''

Tim Davies won a thrilling jump-off to land the Speedi-Beet Grade C Championship after just two tenths of a second separated the top three riders.

Suffolk-based Davies took the £500 top prize, clocking 35.86 seconds on Allure III, pipping Paul Barker (Townhead Zanzibar) into second spot, while Graham Lovegrove (Alfie 192) was third.

"I wasn't going to settle for second place today,'' Davies said.

"I know I can trust the horse to run and jump, and he was fantastic today. Everything fell into place.

"I wanted to win a national title, and he has done it for me. It was his day today.''

Carly Purves captured the British Showjumping Amateur Classic Championship title after delivering two clear rounds on Rowena II.

Eight combinations made the jump-off, but seven of them had at least one fence down as Purves triumphed in 43.35 seconds, with Emma-Jo Slater (Cosmic Neo) second and Caroline Fitzalan-Howard (Valleska) third.

Purves, from Bexley in Kent, said: "This is the biggest win I have ever had.

"The objective was to go clear in round one, and if I did that, then I knew that anything could happen.''

The Pony Showjumper of the Year crown went to Christie Pritchard, from Holyhead in north Wales, who triumphed aboard Whitehorn Girl.

Pritchard, last go go in a nine horse jump-off, held her nerve to clock 42.24 seconds and edge Kent teenager Alex Chitty into second spot.

Harry Charles, 13-year-old son of Olympic gold medallist Peter Charles, finished third with Murka's Money Maker III.