Equestrianism: Fisher bides his time

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By Genevieve Murphy in Dublin

THE KERRYGOLD Dublin Horse Show, which begins its five-day run this morning, may prove to have far more than its usual significance in the formation of the Great Britain team for a major championship - in this case the World Equestrian Games to be held in Rome in October.

Both the top two partnerships in the current series of international team trials (James Fisher on Renville and Di Lampard on Abbervail Dream) will be competing. So will Nick Skelton on a horse with a burgeoning reputation, David Broome's Virtual Village Hopes are High.

They will be joined by John Whitaker (whose two mounts include the Windsor Grand Prix winner, Diamond Cliff) and Carl Edwards. Robert Smith competes as an individual. He will be hoping to repeat last year's victory when he competes in the closing Kerrygold Grand Prix on Sunday.

This will be Fisher's first appearance in the splendid Ballsbridge showground and his form here may help him to decide whether to accept a place on the squad for the World Games. He is automatically qualified having won the first three team trials on Renville.

So far Fisher has declined to say whether or not he will take up the challenge. He has yet to be convinced that the careful and consistent Renville is capable of tackling championship courses.

Ronnie Massarella, the Great Britain team manager, will probably delay naming his quartet to compete against six other countries in the Samsung Nations Cup on Friday. The most interesting combination he could pick would be the Dutch-bred Renville and three Irish-bred horses: Abbervail Dream, Hopes are High and Diamond Cliff.

The Ireland team, which has been growing in strength in recent years, will be formidable opponents as they attempt to follow last year's victory. The other countries - Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland - will be represented by riders who are eager to make their mark but are not yet established.