EQUESTRIANISM: Glasgow's jump start: Prizes draw top riders

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN'S richest show jumping meeting will be launched this evening when the Princess Royal opens the Daily Record International Masters Grand Prix at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow.

The show has cost pounds 500,000 to stage and offers record British prize-money of pounds 200,000. The richest award will be the pounds 26,500 which goes to the winner of the closing grand prix on Monday evening.

This new fixture is the brainchild of Raymond Blin, a Scottish businessman and show jumping enthusiast. The next few days will show if Blin has any chance of realising his dream of 'establishing Glasgow as the premier show jumping venue in Europe'.

Needless to say, all the leading British riders have been lured to Glasgow by the big prizes. John Whitaker's mounts will include Everest Grannusch, with whom he collected the world's richest prize of pounds 110,000 when he won the grand prix in Calgary earlier this month.

Michael Whitaker, John's younger brother, has chosen to ride three of the best horses in his yard - Everest Twostep, Elton and My Mesieur. Twostep will be aimed at the grand prix while the French- bred My Mesieur goes for the pounds 10,000 first prize in the Ultimate Speed Horse on Saturday night.

Overseas riders from eight countries include the European champion, Switzerland's Willi Melliger. The only notable absentees are the four German riders who won team gold medals at this year's World Equestrian Games. They have stayed at home to contest their own national championships.