Equestrianism: Broome finds the finesse of old

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FRANKE SLOOTHAAK and Optiebeurs Walzerkonig were at their brilliant best here when defeating David Broome on Ancit Lannegan in yesterday's marathon contest for the Nordrhein-Westfalen prize. However, Broome, riding with that extra finesse that he seems to reserve for Olympic years, could scarcely have done more to impress the British selectors.

He and Sloothaak were the only riders to go clear in the two rounds of the contest and so ensure a jump-off in which Broome, the first to go, was clear again. He could not, however, deny the huge home crowd and the top German horse, Walzerkonig, whose long stride and accurate jumping carried Sloothaak to victory by a 1.07sec margin.

Sloothaak has already been chosen for the German Olympic team and he will miss today's Nations Cup.

Broome, who first jumped in Aachen some 31 years ago, is still waiting to hear whether he will be competing in his sixth Olympic Games in Barcelona and he will be out to prove the continuing strength of his current form when he rides Countryman today.

Ronnie Massarella, the British team manager, has chosen Nick Skelton to go first for the team in the Nations Cup on Everest Dollar Girl. He will be followed by Tina Cassan on Genesis, with Broome third and Michael Whitaker fourth on Henderson Monsanta.

'Aachen is very important for testing the team and there will be lots of pressure in the Nations Cup,' Massarella said. 'All our riders are going exceptionally well, which is a wonderful position to be in although it makes it much harder to choose the team.'

CHAMPIONSHIP OF GERMANY (Aachen): Nordrhein Westfalen Prize: 1 Optibuers Walzerkonig (F Sloothaak, Ger), clear, 43.13 sec; 2 Ancit Lannegan (D Broome, GB), clear, 44.20; 3 Wilma (S von Ronne, Ger), 4 faults in first two rounds. Aachener Bank prize: 1 Optiebeurs Rinnetou Z (P Raymakers, Neth), clear, 62.91; 2 Henderson My Mesieur (M Whitaker, GB), clear, 63.75; 3 Jogger II (T Fuchs, Swit), clear, 66.54. Frau Antje prize: 1 Henderson My Mesieur (M Whitaker, GB), 65pts, 49.25; 2 Almox Grand Plaisir (L Beerbaum, Ger), 65pts, 52.76; 3 Mergo (M Rombouts, Bel), 65pts, 54.42.