Germany’s Felix Hassmann held his nerve to take Saturday night’s feature class at the Equestrian.com Liverpool International Horse Show.
But it was a close-run thing as he finished just six hundredths of a second ahead of Chloe Aston and Janika Sprunger, who were equal second.
Felix, riding Cayenne Wz, posted a time of 63.90 seconds in the speed competition, sponsored by Bottega Gold, which was bettered by only one rider – Britain’s Guy Williams – but he had to settle for seventh as a late four faults aboard Titus pushed him down the leaderboard.
Chloe and Janika – riding Kolibri Classic and Aris Cms, respectively – could not be separated on 63.99 seconds, with 61-year-old British Olympian John Whitaker taking fourth on his Rio ride Ornellaia, albeit more than two seconds adrift.
Reflecting on his performance, Felix said: “I am really happy. My horse jumped really well. It is my first time here at Liverpool – it is a fantastic show – so to get a win is fantastic.
“At the beginning of the class, there were a lot of faults, but it got quicker and quicker as the class progressed.
“My plan was to ride a little bit slowly at the beginning – I went on an outside line at number three, and I think 90 per cent went inside – but I made up time later on.
“I didn’t see Guy ride – he is always very fast – so I am obviously happy to win. I have had the horse for six years, and I will be aiming him at the grand prix on Monday.
“I have been happy with things this year. I won a lot of classes with Cayenne, and I hope 2017 will be the same.”