Eilberg looks gift horse in mouth

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Ferdi Eilberg went home with the most valuable prize on offer at the British National Dressage Championships and combined International CDI despite failing to qualify for either yesterday's Grand Prix Special or Grand Prix Freestyle to Music events.

Those two contests, both worth pounds 700 to the winner, went to overseas riders, with Germany's Heiner Schiergen taking the Special and Penny Rockx of Canada winning the Freestyle event.

Eilberg's plum prize, a three-year-old potential dressage horse, could be worth anything from pounds 20,000 upwards. The Dutch-bred youngster, presented by Dressage Horse International, went to the British rider who gained the highest percentage score in classes from novice to grand prix.

Eilberg posted 70.0 per cent in the Medium Championship on Thursday with the nine-year-old mare Broadlands Warianka, and that mark was not matched in the days of competition that followed. So the gift horse, who represents by far the most valuable prize that Eilberg has won, will start his competitive life with one of this country's top professional trainers.

Joanna Jackson, the only member of the British Olympic team in contention at Addington, won her national title in finishing fourth (and the best- placed Briton) in Saturday's Grand Prix.

But it was the potential stars of the future who drew most interest. One of them, Diane Hogg, gained her fifth international victory when she rode the highly regarded roan gelding Barrollo to victory in the FEI Intermediaire I yesterday. It was the horse's second victory of the meeting - his other three international successes were at Hickstead - and he is expected to start grand prix contests next year.

Suzanne Davies, who also won two contests here on Keystone Favoriet, could be another addition to the grand prix scene next year. The horse is a nine-year-old Dutch-bred stallion who had show jumped in Denmark and therefore he took no notice of flags and flapping tents. He had seen them many times before.

On a recent trip to Switzerland, where he finished second and fourth in his two classes, Favoriet proved the most relaxed of travellers, sleeping throughout the outward and return journeys. Results, Digest, page 19