POOLE skipper Chris Holder is content to be firmly in the World Championship mix, despite missing out on the British SGP final for the first time in Cardiff last night.

The world champion went into the meeting on the back of two wins and a third in three seasons at the Millennium Stadium and he topped the heat scoreboard with 13 points.

Holder shone on a rough circuit, which had to be re-laid overnight on Friday after the track proved too dangerous for practice to be completed.

But conditions caught him out in semi-final one when his bike sunk into gate two at the start and left him to make do with third spot behind Freddie Lindgren and 2012 Poole colleague Krzysztof Kasprzak.

The Bearwood-based rider still left with 14 points – matching meeting winner Emil Sayfutdinov’s total.

The Russian leads the World Championship on 69 points and Holder is still 15 behind on 54.

But he advanced two places in the standings from sixth to fourth and is content to be in with a brilliant chance of defending the Speedway Grand Prix crown.

He said: “I’m still in the mix there and I’ve just got to keep building off this one. You don’t have to be leading the championship all the way. You’ve just got to be in the mix and not slip away too much.

“Anything can happen – people can drop a lot of points in one night. Emil probably wasn’t the quickest guy at the beginning, but he just made it count towards the end when he needed to. Fair play to him for winning; he was awesome at the end.

“I’ve just got to get ready for Gorzow on June 15 now, but everything feels good. Apart from the semi, everything was perfect. I only dropped the two points in the heat races and I was feeling sweet.”

Holder earned himself first choice of semi-final gates, so he was dejected blue let him down at the worst possible moment.

He said: “Having first choice of gates is always a tricky one – the gates were hit and miss. Sometimes they were good – sometimes they weren’t.

“I watched the last four heats and thought gate three wasn’t too bad. But to leave two good guys inside of you is hard. It’s hard enough to give someone gate one.

“I just had trouble finding a good bit to put the back wheel. The dirt was too deep. I ran out of time to do too much digging around and as soon as I dropped my clutch, the bike went down before it went forward.

“It flicked me off-balance, I got all out of shape and made a meal of the start. Then it was just a battle to stay on the bike – the track was tricky at the end, so I was happy to walk away with 14 points.”

British SGP results (top 10): 1 Emil Sayfutdinov (1-1-3-1-3-2-3) 14, 2 Niels-Kristian Iversen (2-2-3-3-1-3-2) 16, 3 Krzysztof Kasprzak (2-3-0-3-2-2-1) 13, 4 Freddie Lindgren (1-3-2-X-3-3-X) 12, 5 Chris Holder (3-2-3-2-3-1) 14, 6 Martin Vaculik (3-0-2-3-2-1) 11, 7 Greg Hancock (2-3-1-2-3-0) 11, 8 Nicki Pedersen (3-3-2-2-1-R) 11, 9 Tai Woffinden (3-2-2-N) 7, 10 Chris Harris (0-1-3-1-2) 7.

World Championship standings (top 12): 1 Emil Sayfutdinov 69, 2 Tai Woffinden 61, 3 Nicki Pedersen 56, 4 Chris Holder 54, 5 Jaroslaw Hampel 52, 6 Niels-Kristian Iversen 49, 7 Tomasz Gollob 48, 8 Greg Hancock 45, 9 Matej Zagar 41, 10 Fredrik Lindgren 40, 11 Krzysztof Kasprzak 38, 12 Andreas Jonsson 30.