Equestrianism: Barton's repeat victory is perfect present

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The Independent Online
GRACE BARTON celebrated her 19th birthday with a stylish win at The Horse of the Year Show last night, repeating her 1998 victory in the Fordyce Curry Young Riders Championship of Great Britain.

Barton completed the only clear round to win without a jump-off from John Whitaker's son Robert and daughter Louise. The two Whitakers filled second and third places respectively.

In contrast to many of her rivals, Barton's faultless performance on the 10-year-old mare, Mace Park Valhalla, was beautifully ridden. She had been told by her trainer, Rob Hoekstra, and father, John Barton, "to be really careful everywhere" and did exactly that.

Earlier in the year Barton had a horrible fall at the Richmond Horse Show in which she tore five ligaments in her right knee. Her next show was at Hickstead, where she finished a gallant third in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup on Valhalla, to whom she generously gives most of the credit. "If I ride her properly, she always jumps a clear round," Barton said.

John Renwick's fine reputation for producing young show jumping horses was further enhanced yesterday, when he won two classes: the Aon 6-Year- Old Horse Championship with the mare Grannus Lady and the Thomas Bates and Sons 7 & 8 Year Old Championship with Temple Voyager.

Renwick first competed here 16 years ago at the age of 11 but had won only two classes during the intervening years.

Louise Pavitt, the 13-year-old daughter of a Kent plasterer, completed a double here by riding the pony Ballykissangel, to win the Squibb and Davies National Foxhunter Championship by a comfortable 3.73sec to follow her victory in the Welcome Stakes on Tuesday.

n Jackie Stewart, the former Formula One world champion, has joined the International Eventing Safety Committee, which will report to the International Equestrian Federation and the British Horse Trials Association following the five rider fatalities at British horse trials this year.