Equestrianism: Lampard left out of British team

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Di Lampard's hopes of a place on the British team for this week's European Show Jumping Championships ended in disappointment yesterday, when the team was named.

Geoff Billington, riding Virtual Village It's Otto, will be first to go for the British team in today's opening leg of the contest, which will be judged on time. He will be followed by Michael Whitaker on Ashley, Robert Smith on Senator Tees Hanauer and John Whitaker on Welham.

Lampard, who has shown consistently good form in the last month, will be left to support the team from the sidelines. She will, however, have the chance of compensation when she rides Abbervail Dream in Saturday's Grand Prix.

There was no obvious partnership to discard from the squad of five when Malcolm Pyrah (chairman of the International Committee) and Michael Bullman (chairman of the selectors) made the decision yesterday. Ronnie Massarella, the British team manager, was not involved. He could have been seen to have a vested interest since he owns Orthos, one of Robert Smith's two mounts.

It would not have made much difference. Smith, who gets his first place on a senior championship team, was expected to be chosen with his Dublin Grand Prix winner, Tees Hanauer, who has the better form this year.

The selectors gleaned little from yesterday's two warm-up contests, in which most of the horses preparing for the championship merely jumped half a dozen fences or so and then retired. But they would have noted that Tees Hanauer and Welham, both aged 17, looked impressively sleek and fit.

Massarella, who now takes over responsibility for the team, said: "I think they'll go well, though on the big day you always need luck. The Dutch are very strong and I'm always frightened of the Germans on their home soil."

John Whitaker enlivened the Mecklenburgischen Prize, the first of yesterday's two warm-up classes, on Virtual Village Grannusch. Unlike most of the others, he was not riding his championship horse and was under no constraint to conserve his mount. Even if they had all been trying, it would have been hard to catch the chestnut, who won by 5.02sec.

Ireland's Paul Darragh, who rides Cera in the championships, was similarly unrestrained when he won the Baden-Wurttemberg Prize on the mare Scandal. He had jumped the Australian-bred nine-year-old to two clear rounds in the Dublin Nations Cup, but decided she was too inexperienced to tackle the championships here.

Results, Digest page 23