HUDDERSFIELD’S Oliver Townend was denied a first ever win at Bramham by putting a second fence down in the dying stages of Sunday’s show jumping finale as New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson climbed from third to first.
After Australia’s Sammi Birch put down fence 8A, overnight CCI three-star leader Townend could afford to put one fence down going last on MHS King Joules but had a huge crowd gasping when knocking down fence two.
Townend quickly regained composure and looked on course to scrape to victory until also putting down fence 8A and ending his chances of victory.
Nicholson - who himself put a fence down on his show jumping round - subsequently climbed from third to first on Jet Set IV, with Britain’s Lauren Shannon finishing runner-up on Quality Purdey, ahead of Townend and then Birch in fourth.
Nicholson, 54, a former world no 1, has now won Bramham’s flagship event three times after being successful on Henry Tankerville in 2006 and Nereo in 2009.
Townend also finished ninth on Samuel Thomas II, who ironically produced a foot perfect clear show jumping round that was inside the time.
Northallerton’s James Sommerville, who learnt the ropes when based with Townend, produced his best ever display to finish a fantastic 11th on Talent.
Bingley amateur Charlotte Brear was next in the Yorkshire pecking order, finishing a hugely creditable 28th on Manor Missile, just ahead of Scarborough’s Bramham debutante Phil Brown who can take a bow after finishing 31st on Miss Brodie.
Northallerton’s London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Nicola Wilson finished 42nd on Bulana who was third after dressage.
Another of Townend’s mounts, Sandiman II, was retired in Saturday’s cross country test.
Earlier, three poles down denied York’s Holly Woodhead a dream win in the CIC three-star as fellow Brit Gemma Tattersall claimed victory on Chico Bella P.
Tattersall - who was second overnight - jumped a perfect clear inside the time in Sunday morning’s show jumping finale meaning Woodhead needed the same on leader DHI Lupison.
But three fences down caused gasps among the large spectating crowd as the 22-year-old dropped from first to eighth.
Kristina Cook claimed second on Billy The Red courtesy of a perfect clear round while Pippa Funnell climbed from eighth to third by doing likewise on Billy The Biz.
Northallerton’s Nicola Wilson rose from 15th to sixth with her perfect clear on One Two Many while a clear from William Fox-Pitt on Chilli Morning saw him finish ninth.
Harrogate’s Hazel Towers jumped a fine clear and with just three time penalties to finish 18th on Simply Smart.
Woodhead’s boyfriend Tom McEwen won the competition’s Bishop Burton College under-25s CCI three-star on Toledo De Kerser.
In the same event, Doncaster’s Sophie Platt also completed her first CCI three-star, finishing 14th on Be Be III after picking up 13 penalty points over show jumping.