Equestrianism: Everest climb is in vain

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The Independent Online
LUCIANO CAMPAGNARO looked more reckless than skilful in the Premio Parmalat yesterday when he defeated Michael Whitaker to gain the second Italian victory of the day at the Rome Horse Show.

The crowds were urging Campagnaro to go for broke as he turned for the last fence (an upright) on Yokohama Emely and he duly obliged. The horse galloped to the obstacle, took off at least one stride early and skimmed over it. Whitaker's more orthodox round left the Briton runner-up (just 0.48sec behind the winner) on Everest My Mesieur.

Warren Clarke, who was eighth with a slower clear round on Aretha, had not expected to ride here after sustaining a painful muscle injury in his left thigh during Monday's opening class in the Piazza di Siena.

The earlier contest for the Premio Viminale saw Clarke jump two polished clear rounds on Benjumin to finish seventh, which was the best British placing. The team manager, Ronnie Massarella, now expects to include the 23-year-old from Manchester in his quartet for Saturday's Nations Cup.

Clarke said that his leg 'ached a bit' yesterday, but it was nothing like the searing pain he had felt before the French team's physiotherapist treated him with a pulsator and ultrasound - twice on Monday and once yesterday morning.

He now relishes the prospect of riding Benjumin again in today's Grand Prix, which will be the grey gelding's biggest test so far.

Both John Whitaker and Nick Skelton rested their Grand Prix horses - Everest Gammon and Dollar Girl - yesterday. Michael Whitaker went for a slow school in the first contest on Midnight Madness and blamed himself for the horse's single error at the water.

ROME HORSE SHOW: Premio Parmalat: 1 Yokohama Emely (L Campagnaro, It) clear, 60.40 secs; 2 Everest My Mesieur (M Whitaker, GB) clear, 60.88; 3 Curtis (L McNaught-Mandli, Swit) clear, 61.74. Premio Viminale: 1 Lord Piana Eikorn (P Moyersoen, It) clear, 31.81; 2 Crown Royal Ramira (M Leone, US) clear, 33.38; 3 Ferdinand (H Weinberg, Ger) clear, 33.41. GB: 7 Benjumin (W Clarke) clear, 36.82.