Video: Cock o’ The North at the Great Yorkshire Show

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BARNSLEY’S Joe Whitaker was left with a bittersweet after-aste after finishing fifth in yesterdays Cock O’The North Championship.

The 26-year-old was the highest placed out of eight Whitakers and also the top-ranked Yorkshire performer through his efforts on Lola V.

Robert Bevis riding Pebbles IV on his way to winning the 'Ripon Select Foods Coco 'O the North Championship' at the Great Yorkshire Show.

Robert Bevis riding Pebbles IV on his way to winning the 'Ripon Select Foods Coco 'O the North Championship' at the Great Yorkshire Show.

Yet the South Yorkshireman was left to rue what might have been after agonisingly knocking down the final fence to the gasps of the partisan crowd in the second jump off.

Whitaker told The Yorkshire Post: “I’m gutted because the mare has jumped well enough to win the class. I took a stride out to the last and I had an early draw so it’s one of those things when you have got a lot of good riders on good horses behind you.

“You are trying to just save a bit of time where you can and I think given a better draw I would have had an extra stride to the last as I would have had my heart set on jumping it then. But fifth is my best result here and it’s the first time I’ve had a horse good enough to be that competitive here.

“I’m delighted with the mare, I’m delighted with the way she’s jumped and I think she’ll be back next year.”

Come 2015 it will be Rob Bevis who arrives as defending champion after his last-gasp success on Pebbles IV.

Whitaker’s uncle John arrived as this year’s defending champion but he got no further than the first round after an error-strewn effort from Argento who was eventually retired.

John’s brother Michael also failed to make it past the first round on Valentin R while Doncaster’s James Hughes bowed out at the first stage but not without a highly promising round on Pieter VI who put just one fence down.

Huddersfield’s George Whitaker also had one down on Catinka and he joined Donald Whitaker, Steven Whitaker and Wetherby’s Richard Howley in exiting at the first stage which also claimed Geoff Billington and Robert Smith.

Fourteen combinations went through to the first jump off including William Whitaker who surprisingly put one fence down on Upperclass.

Billy Twomey was another notable casualty as eight riders went through to a final jump off against the clock. Ellen Whitaker’s bid on Le Beau H E was then ended with two fences down while Huddersfield’s Joe Clayton then saw his Ingliston Twister uncharacteristically throw in a double 
refusal.

Clayton eventually finished eighth with Ellen Whitaker seventh – two places behind her brother Joe.

When the dust settles, fifth wasn’t so bad after all, with the promise of so much more to come. Joe said: “This event is great – it’s the Yorkshire Olympics.

“Maybe one day I’ll have a horse good enough to win this class.”

• WREXHAM’S Rob Bevis admitted that winning yesterday’s Cock O’The North Championship was fulfilment of a lifelong dream.

After scooping £8,000 in prize-money, the 48-year-old also joked that gone are the days of sleeping in his horse truck.

British number 18 Bevis sealed a thrilling victory by jumping clear on Pebbles IV as the last combination from an eight-strong second jump off.

Every pairing before him put at least one fence down including Yorkshire trio Joe Clayton, Ellen Whitaker and Joe Whitaker with the latter particularly upset at knocking down the final fence on Lola V.

With eventual runner-up Holly Gillott, third-placed Simon Buckley, Tim Page and even Guy Williams all making errors, that meant a clear round would prove sufficient for Bevis on his up and coming mare Pebbles IV.

And in front of a packed crowd the world number 314 saved the best until last, two days after settling into Harrogate and staying overnight in his horse truck.

There was disappointment for big guns John and Michael Whitaker, who both failed to make even the initial jump off on Argento and Valentin R respectively.

Instead the evening belonged to Bevis who said victory was one of the highlights of his career.

Bevis told The Yorkshire Post: “To win this is a dream, really. I’ve been third before – maybe seven or eight years ago but I’ve never got that close.

“I’ve done a lot of the county shows and this is probably the best county show.

“I’m really chuffed and it’s one of the biggest wins I’ve had.

“The draw was kind to me as my horse is slightly inexperienced and this is her first season jumping at this level.

“For me, it was good just going to try and jump a clear round as it suited where she’s at.”

Revealing his less than glamorous sleeping arrangements for the week, Bevis laughed: “I’ve been staying here since Tuesday morning in the truck though I stayed with Paul Barker on Wednesday night at his house in Northallerton.

“I don’t do luxury hotels, I can’t afford that. But maybe I could do now.”