Turi's mount, Waysider, was first into the 13-horse jump-off and the rider expected his time to be beaten. Billington, who followed two horses later on Corona, was equally resigned to being pushed down in the placings. But the four who did go faster - Nigel Coupe, Nick Skelton, Belgium's Dirk Demeersman and Marie Edgar - made errors.
Billington and his seven-year- old partner, the mare Corona, had just returned from competing at Aarhus in Denmark. They had reached Calais at 5pm on Monday afternoon, but rough seas delayed their channel crossing and they did not arrive here until 10.30pm on Wednesday night.
While Billington looks forward to future contests with Corona ('she's fantastic, perhaps the best I've ever ridden,' he said), Turi is facing up to the probable loss of his top partner, the Irish-bred mare Abbeville who is now on loan to Jan Tops, of the Netherlands.
'Without a sponsor, you have to make the best of it,' Turi said. It seems inevitable that Tops, who rode Nick Skelton's former mount Top Gun for the winning Dutch Olympic team, will persuade his sponsors to buy Abbeville and thus deprive Britain of yet another brilliant young horse.
Duncan Inglis, 26, gained the highest points in two sections of the National Grade A Championship to win the title and the right to stay on and compete for the rest of the show. The latter privilege is also accorded to the next five in the overall placings - Kelly Brown, Ian Fox, David McPherson and John Popely.
Two weeks ago Inglis had to have his appendix removed. He doubted whether he would be fit enough to qualify for Wembley at Arena UK in Lincolnshire last week, let alone come here and win the Grade A Championship.
Party Time, Inglis's mount, is owned by Joan Bates, whose husband, Michael, is chairman of the British Show Jumping Association and the newly elected president of the British Equestrian Federation.
Graziano Mancinelli, who won a showjumping gold medal for Italy at the 1972 Olympics, died at his home in Brescia yesterday after a long illness. He was 55.
HORSE OF THE YEAR SHOW (Wembley Arena): Woodhouse International Stakes: 1= Waysider (J Turi) and Corona (G Billington) clear, 30.62sec; 3 Bowriver Queen (J Fisher) clear, 31.64. National Grade A Championship (points gained in two contests ): 1 Party Time (D Inglis) 15pts; 2= Slipstream (K Brown), Wallonin (I Fox), Pfeffer (D McPherson) 11pts. Radiol Senior Newcomers Championship: 1 Chinka (M Wynne) clear, 32.84sec; 2 Red Cheval (C Farnsworth) clear, 35.09; 3 Sara II (M Orzazewska) 4 faults, 34.87. Radiol Junior Newcomers Championship: 1 LA Flashback (L Yeoman) clear, 29.69secs; 2 Leaside Easter Treasure (E Waters) clear, 40.25; 3 Super Stardust (G Cairns) 8 faults, 29.13. Coomes Bookmakers Speed Stakes: 1 Henderson Grannusch (J Whitaker) 50.20secs; 2 Ancit Feedback (D Broome) 52.00; 3 Paradise Peppermill (J Harris) 52.13.
(Photograph omitted)Reuse content