Equestrianism Freestyle victory for Belgian

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The Independent Online
Equestrianism

GENEVIEVE MURPHY

reports from Aachen

Jean-Claude Vangeenberghe repeated his 1993 victory when he rode Omnistor Freestyle to win yesterday's Aachen Grand Prix, the closing contest of the German Nations Cup meeting.

The Belgian finished just 0.42sec ahead of France's Herve Godignon on Twist du Valon. The German Olympic champion, Ludger Beerbaum, took third place on Sprehe Rush On.

Vangeenberghe was aware his time could be beaten, and Lesley McNaught- Mandli came close to proving that point. She was ahead on time when coming towards the final jump-off fence which her horse hit, having apparently thought he was supposed to jump the obstacle next to it.

The top 18 riders went into the second round, with Michael Whitaker squeezing through in 18th place on Everest Midnight Madness as the result of having the fastest four-fault score. Nick Skelton, riding Everest Dollar Girl (who dropped a foot in the water), bowed out with a slower four-fault score in the first round, as did Geoff Billington with It's Otto.

John Whitaker departed in more dramatic fashion after Grannusch picked up too early for the middle element of the treble and went crashing through it. The chances of Whitaker staying on the horse looked remote (at one stage he appeared to have no more than a toe on the saddle) but he succeeded in defying gravity before retiring.

Britain's dressage riders took third place in the team contest, which was held in conjunction with the Grand Prix. The event was won by Germany, with the Netherlands in second place.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 25

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