Golden Jubilee Horse of the Year: Crippen earns reward at the last

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SIMON CRIPPEN finally got his reward at the Golden Jubilee Horse of the Year Show at Wembley yesterday when the 17-year-old from Chesham took the Senior Newcomers Championship with a double clear round on the French-bred mare Divine Des Cabanes.

Watched by his parents - his father, Ian, is a former Wembley competitor himself - Crippen triumphed in a 10-horse jump off, when his a time of 29.12 seconds put him fractionally ahead of the experienced John Renwick, whose time of 29.33sec with Temple Guess What left him to settle for second place.

Crippen, who had earlier had a second, a sixth and an eighth place during the week achieved the one result he wanted despite a slight hesitation at the final double combination which might have cost him a vital fraction of a second.

But Cabanes sailed over the obstacle smoothly, leaving Crippen, who has now left school to become a full-time rider to say: "I thought when I had beaten John I might have the winning time."

William Funnell proved to be in a class of his own late on Friday night when he produced the only clear round in an eight-horse jump-off to win the Trax Data Leading Showjumper of the Year competition.

The 32-year-old Funnell with B Bug was the fourth partnership to go in the jump-off after Roelof Bril (Holland) Peter Charles (Ireland) and Britain's Mark Armstrong had all collected faults in negotiating the tricky course with Charles being particularly unlucky when Carnavelly refused after attempting one tight turn too many.

Although Funnell's time of 38.51sec always looked beatable none of the following horses managed to leave all the fences upright, giving the Surrey rider a clear run to the title and pounds 3,500 first prize.

Charles, with his three faults for his refusal, collected pounds 2,500 for second place in 44.35sec and Bril pounds 1,500 for coming third with Bollvorm's Burggravin with four faults, despite having the fastest time of all, of 37.04sec.

"It was nice to come and win an open class such as this, although I certainly didn't expect to," said a delighted Funnell afterwards.