Equestrianism: Bourdy enjoys his champagne moment

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The Independent Online
HUBERT BOURDY, a member of the winning French team at the World Equestrian Games in 1990, jumped a swift clear round to win yesterday's Champagne Taittinger Christmas Cracker Stakes on the second day of the Olympia Show Jumping Championships.

In a cosmopolitan jump-off between five horses (not one of them ridden by a British rider), Bourdy rode the nine-year-old mare Medline Van't Paradijs to defeat Ireland's Peter Charles on Traxdata Nustria, who was runner-up in last year's Volvo World Cup qualifier here but has had most of this year off.

Nustria, who is still only eight, had a few months' rest at the start of this year but sustained a serious over-reach when striking his near foreleg with a hind toe at the Pavarotti Horse Show in June. The injury required surgery and another long lay- off.

His polished performance yesterday left Charles ahead of Dutchman Jos Lansink on Nissan Zandor and Ludger Beerbaum (the European champion from Germany) on Champion de Lys. Beerbaum seemed already in possession of the top prize as he headed to the last jump-off fence on the nimble eight- year-old grey stallion, only to have the last rail down in a time that was the fastest by 2.64sec.

On Thursday night Champion de Lys left the fences intact to give Beerbaum victory in the P&O Christmas Tree Challenge, thwarting John Whitaker who looked on course to secure the second leg of an opening day double until the galloping German relegated him to runner-up.

Beerbaum has ridden the French-bred Champion de Lys for 16 months and achieved significant victories with the stallion (notably in the derbies at Hamburg and Monterrey) before coming to Olympia. On Thursday night he defeated a splendid round from John Whitaker and 18-year- old Virtual Village Welham, who had been the Yorkshireman's probable mount for today's Traxdata World Cup qualifier.

Whitaker, however, decided that 19-year-old Grannusch, with whom he won on Thursday, is feeling marginally better than Welham and he will therefore ride him in today's major contest which, surprisingly, Whitaker has never yet won.

OLYMPIA INTERNATIONAL SHOW JUMPING CHAMPIONSHIPS: Champagne Taittinger Christmas Cracker Stakes: 1 Medline Van't Paradijs (H Bourdy, Fr) clear, 32.66sec; 2 Traxdata Nustria (P Charles, Irl) clear, 36.99; 3 Nissan Zandor (J Lansink, Neth) clear, 38.34. Perton Signs Holly Pair Relay: 1 Peter Pan V (B Mandli, Swit) and Corlanda (W Melliger, Swit) 57.41secs; 2 Casir Ask (L Pedersen, Den) and Pearl (G Luckett, GB) 58.58; 3 Valentino (G Billington, GB) and Virtual Village (J Whitaker, GB) 58.78.

BRITISH EQUESTRIAN WRITERS' ASSOCIATION AWARDS: Equestrian Personality of the Year: C Bartle. Vivien Batchelor Trophy for Most Outstanding Young Rider: K Levan. Liz Dudden Trophy for Contributions to Equestrian Sport: P Maxwell.