Equestrianism: Broome is braced for Spain

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DAVID BROOME has returned to the French seaside at La Baule, where he won the world show jumping title 23 years ago, to compete as a member of the British squad for the Nations Cup meeting, beginning today, writes Genevieve Murphy.

Broome has been named as reserve for the European championships at Gijon in Spain in two weeks' time, but the durable 53-year-old Welshman could still be in the team if any of the three chosen riders competing in La Baule - Mark Armstrong, Nick Skelton and Michael Whitaker - encounter difficulties at the four-day French show.

Whitaker looks safe enough - as does his elder brother, John, who remains in Yorkshire this week. Armstrong and Skelton, however, look more vulnerable and both will be anxious to avoid problems and prove that their horses are in top form.

Warren Clarke, also a reserve for the European team, completes the British squad. They face formidable opposition from a field that contains most of the top European championship riders as well as a strong team from the United States.

Horse trials course designers may need to amend table-fence obstacles, says a working party that has investigated recent rider deaths. The group, chaired by the Badminton Trials director Hugh Thomas, also makes recommendations about the siting of vertical fences and calls for improved hard hats and better record-keeping on accidents.