Equestrianism: Favoured Milton

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The Independent Online
JOHN WHITAKER will be well fancied to repeat his victories of 1990 and 1991 when the 15th World Cup final begins in Gothenburg, Sweden, tomorrow evening. However, his two fellow Britons - his younger brother, Michael, and Nick Skelton - also have a chance of winning for the first time.

Swedish fans will be supporting John Whitaker simply because he rides their favourite horse, Everest Milton. The younger Whitaker's mount, Everest Midnight Madness, cannot expect to be greeted with the same rapturous reception, but the 10- year-old has been jumping with a burgeoning confidence that suggests he is ready to take on the world in this tough contest, run over three legs.

Midnight Madness won the Grand Prix at Olympia last December, defeating Germany's Olympic champion, Ludger Beerbaum, on Ratina Z. He won another big contest last month in Paris, where he was also runner-up (to Nick Skelton on Everest Major Wager) in the World Cup qualifier.

If Major Wager is in the same devastating form, it will be hard for the Whitakers (or anyone else) to finish ahead of Skelton when the first leg of the World Cup is decided on times.