Equestrianism: Airborne flies home again

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The Independent Online
A change of jockey made no apparent difference to the grey, Airborne Monticello, when he gained a second consecutive win in yesterday's New Zealand Trophy on the first day of the ENZA Nations' Cup Show, writes Genevieve Murphy from Hickstead.

Last year the horse won for a young Mexican, Luis Ximenez; yesterday the polished Frenchman, Michel Robert, was on board. Ximenez was distraught when Airborne's owner gave the ride to Robert last August, but the Frenchman had already tasted the same medicine.

Robert's best mount, Miss (with whom he was runner-up in world and European championships) was sold in January, 1995 and is now being ridden for Ireland by Eddie Macken. That loss is still a painful memory for the Frenchman, who defeated Ireland's Erik Holstein on Ballaseyr Kalosha by a commanding 8.61sec yesterday.

The top British riders offered little resistance in this contest that was decided on time in the first round. Di Lampard, on Abbervail Dream, and Geoff Billington, on It's Otto, followed their instructions and jumped impressive (but slow) clear rounds. Both Michael Whitaker, on Midnight Madness, and William Funnell, on Comex, had a single error, also jumping slowly.

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