NORTHALLERTON’S Nicola Wilson finally bagged her first ever win at Bramham - and then wished York-raised starlet Holly Woodhead luck in securing a brilliant Yorkshire double.
Wilson secured her first success at the Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials on Saturday afternoon as Annie Clover battled back to regain first place from Pippa Funnell on Billy The Biz in the CIC three-star.
And another Yorkshire-rasied ace in 21-year-old Woodhead will now take centre stage on Sunday morning when bidding to wrap up what would be an emotional and poignant victory in the Bishop Burton College CCI three-star under-25s event.
The 21-year-old is riding DHI Lupison, formerly owned by her grandad Alan, who sadly passed away last Sunday.
And after leading overnight following Friday’s fantastic dressage test, Woodhead amazingly recorded a clear cross country round that was one second inside the optimum time on Saturday afternoon.
Woodhead, who is now based near Swindon, leads Dani Evans and Smart Time by 7.2 penalty points meaning she can afford one fence down and a three second time penalty in Sunday morning’s show jumping finale.
Emily King, daughter of six-time Olympian Mary King, is just a further 0.2 penalty points back in third.
Popular Woodhead’s Facebook page has been inundated with messages of support as she bids to land an emotional win for Yorkshire at an event she has been attending since she was nine-years-old.
And Wilson will be among her well-wishers on Sunday morning with the Northallerton star having previously been trained by Woodhead’s father Ian.
Wilson told the Yorkshire Post: “Holly is such a fantastic up and coming rider and her father trained so many of us, including myself on the flat.
“I’m so excited for her and I keep everything crossed for her in the show jumping.
“It would be amazing if she won.”
Reflecting on her own superb triumph, which brought huge cheers in Saturday evening’s presentation ceremony, Wilson beamed: “It feels fantastic and I can’t quite believe it’s happened.
“To win here in Yorkshire at Bramham on Annie Clover who is owned by my parents is magical.”
Woodhead is locked in battle with two fellow up and coming blonde British riders in Evans and King.
The trio are good friends and Woodhead laughed: “It’s the battle of the blondes but I’m the Yorkshire one.
“It’s been an emotional week and it would mean the world to me to win.”
Evans or King could yet be the Sunday morning party-poopers but Evans said of Woodhead: “Both Holly and her horse have looked fab and I am really happy for her. I hope she does it because she deserves the win.”
King added: “Us three blondes leading the way, it’s quite funny - you’d never expect it! We’re all such good mates, we’re so close but we’ll all be trying our hardest to win.”
The Bramham 2015 curtain will then be drawn on Sunday afternoon with the flagship CCI three-star event which is as you were after the top two following dressage both recorded clear rounds inside the time over Ian Stark’s cross country test.
The Flora Harris-ridden Banyano leads fellow Brit and world no 1 William Fox-Pitt’s sole entry Fernhill Pimms by 1.3 penalty points.
Fox-Pitt is bidding for his seventh CCI three-star win at Bramham and his eighth win at the venue in total.