Birmingham success for Williams
British rider Guy Williams won Thursday's opening international class at the Horse of the Year Show in Birmingham.
Williams, who missed out on a place in Britain's Olympic showjumping team for London 2012, claimed an emphatic victory in the Grandstand Welcome Stakes speed class.
Kent-based Williams, riding Larino, posted a time of 58.87 seconds to land the top prize of just under £1,000.
Irish Olympic rider Billy Twomey finished second aboard Molly Malone V on 59.97, and Holland's Leon Thijssen took third with Quintera, more than a second behind Twomey.
"That is a good start to the week," Williams said.
"I've had the horse a few months and that is the first class we have won. He was very good today."
There was a second British winner in the Xerox Special Event Services Cup when Will Funnell clinched a thrilling success on Billy Angelo that saw him collect just under £1500.
Ellen Whitaker looked as though she had done enough to successfully retain her title after leading the two-phase class until late on.
Tim Davies and Valentijn O then clipped two hundredths of a second off Whitaker's time of 26.10 with Royal Rose, before Funnell delivered a brilliant clear round in 25.48.
But Funnell could not relax as 17-year-old Hertfordshire prospect Chloe Aston threatened his time with Chateau de Brion Quainton, clocking 25.72 for second spot.
Whitaker had to be content with fourth place in the end, but it was an encouraging result for her as she continues on the comeback trail.
She recently began the process of setting up her own yard, and after dropping outside the top 25 on British Showjumping's official ranking list, 26-year-old Whitaker is showing signs of stringing together some consistent results.
"There has been quite a lot of rebuilding for me this year," she said.
"I have left home and set up on my own, but now it is starting to come together.
"I don't know where I will be on the next rankings list, so the main thing at the moment is climbing back up that list."