The Irish rider did not believe that he had done enough to win - and nor did Geoff Billington, who looked all set to defeat him on Virtual Village It's Otto, until missing one of the jump-off fences for elimination. Michael Whitaker, though 1.29sec faster on the increasingly impressive Ashley, rolled a pole off the fence into the double to finish second ahead of Robert Bevis on True Hero.
Remarkably, this was the first victory for nine-year-old Nustria, who was competing in his first outdoor grand prix, having been sidelined for the whole of last summer through injury. The success marked a change of fortune for Charles after the loss of Nustria's seven-year-old half- sister, Dolores, who had won a B&C contest here on Friday only to die yesterday after a colic attack.
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