Equestrianism: Boon guides Britain home: One mistake costs team leader another individual title

TERRY BOON led the British team to a second successive victory in the Young Riders' European Championships, which were part of the Blenheim Audi International Horse Trials. But Boon's chance of repeating last year's individual win disappeared when his mount, Vital Decision, dislodged a rail from the penultimate fence in yesterday's show jumping.

That mistake left Germany's Nina Melkonian as the individual victor on the gelding West Star, bought two years ago as a leisure horse for riding through the forest. Melkonian, who only started eventing last year, has been quick to prove her talent in competition.

One British horse, Nicola Browne's Ballyhaise, failed the inspection, as did two German and two Italian horses. Boon and his surviving team-mates (Polly Clark on Poggio and Emily Thompson on Party Man) were left to give the home side an easy victory.

Bruce Davidson, the former dual world champion from the United States, retained his overnight lead to win the senior international section on Squelch.

Squelch was bought two years ago by George Strawbridge, who wanted to provide Davidson with a mount for the 1996 Olympics. Notwithstanding his single show jumping error yesterday, the chestnut horse looks quite capable of realising Strawbridge's ambitions. He and Davidson won from Britain's Rodney Powell, on the impressive Comic Relief, with Australia's Sharon Ridgway third, on Kilkenny Castle.

Ridgway, who was born in Edinburgh and brought up in the Orkney Islands, had a worrying time after starting before the bell in yesterday's show jumping. It transpired that she had heard a bell ring in the adjacent arena. Having stopped her, the officials quite rightly accepted her explanation and allowed her to restart.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 37

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