Equestrianism: Goodin proves a fast mover

BRUCE GOODIN supplied the major surprise of the Horse of the Year Show last night when he rode the 10-year-old Gino with a fine blend of corner- cutting speed and accuracy to win the closing Traxdata Grand Prix.

The New Zealander, now based at Geel in Belgium, was told that he had to go fast in order to win and he did just that, defeating Robert Smith on Senator Tees Hanauer by a convincing 2.88sec. Though Goodin was runner- up in the valuable Calgary Grand Prix in 1991 on Reservation, this was his first win in the major class at a Category A show.

John Whitaker gave the difficult mare, Amber du Montois, a wonderfully sympathetic ride to finish a close third.

John's younger brother, Michael, who was seventh with one jump-off error on Ashley, had kept the family name in a prominent position when he gained his fourth victory of the meeting (and his second on Virtual Village Twostep) in the Speed Horse of the Year.

"There were a lot of options on the course, but I decided to take the shortest way everywhere," Whitaker said, after defeating William Funnell (who also went the way of the bold on Comex) by just 0.2sec.

Andrew Davies, winner of the earlier Woodhouse Venue of Legends Stakes, is still disenchanted with show jumping after his bitter disappointment at losing the ride on Hopes are High. Formerly owned by David Broome, the horse is now the mount of Nick Skelton and one of the favourites for the World Equestrian Games, which open in Rome on Wednesday.

When Davies won on Miniature Quickstep yesterday, he defeated Skelton on Giselle II in the process. "It's always good to beat someone like Nick, but I don't bear him any grudge," the 24-year-old Davies said.

He did, however, feel badly let down and was "within a millimetre of giving up altogether" when Broome rang him up to say that the horse was being passed on to Skelton. Hopes are High has since been sold to Lord and Lady Harris.

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