Clapham takes the plaudits on James

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The Independent Online
Diana ("Tiny") Clapham won her first international three-day event yesterday, at the Bowmore Blair Castle Horse Trials, after Sydney James jumped a clear show jumping round which moved her up from overnight second to first place.

Clapham was a member of Britain's silver medal team at the 1984 Olympic Games and she won a national three-day event at Osberton in 1987, but this success was a new landmark. Rodney Powell had some part in it, having recommended that she buy Sydney James who (at 16.1 hands) was too small for him.

The 11-year-old horse, who had won the national junior championships at Windsor with Nigel Lynn, gave Clapham a wonderful ride over Saturday's rain-drenched cross country course which left her challenging for the top prize. She gained her reward after Lesley Law and Perryfields George, the overnight leaders, lowered the fence into the final treble during yesterday's showjumping.

Law dropped to third, one place behind Lucinda Murray and her recent acquisition, Simply Red VII. "He proved he is a true event horse, not just one that can do a good dressage," Murray said of Simply Red, who galloped through the mud with apparent enthusiasm on Saturday, despite a dislike for getting his feet dirty.

A victory for Law would have seemed like compensation for his disappointment in having to miss the Olympic competition because of New Flavour's minor foot problem. But he nevertheless had plenty to be pleased about in the performance of seven-year-old Perryfields George.

Some 20 years ago, Clapham was on the winning team for the Junior European Championships. Yesterday this team title was again won by Britain, with Emma Taylor (at 15, the youngest member of the quartet) taking the individual gold medal on Fair Dinkum.

Taylor carried a big responsibility yesterday. One showjumping error would have robbed her of the individual championship; two mistakes would have left France holding the team title. But she kept her cool.

"I was very nervous in the morning, but when I got Fair Dinkum I felt much better," Taylor said. The horse (now 15 and the same age as his rider) has been in the family since he was four. Formerly ridden by Emma's elder sister, Sarah, he has now run in 15 three day events and certainly knows the form.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 15