Equestrianism: Lansink delivers decisive burst

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The Independent Online
JOHN WHITAKER and Everest Milton received a rapturous standing ovation after each of their two clear rounds here in yesterday's Volvo World Cup qualifier. In the end, though, they had to play second fiddle to the Dutchman, Jos Lansink, who conjured a wonderful round from Bollvorm's Libero to win by 1.62sec.

Whitaker, the second last to jump, went comfortably ahead of Germany's Rene Tebbel, who had held the lead. The Briton hoped that he had done enough to repeat his two previous victories in this contest but Lansink, who was 33 on Saturday, foiled that hope. The athletic stallion, Libero, shaved corners to the bone and never looked like touching a fence. This was the Dutchman's fourth World Cup victory this winter, and he heads the European League with the highest number of points ever scored.

Milton's round, after his recent return from a long lay-off through injury, was nevertheless heartwarming. 'He felt as good as ever, the 10 months off may have done him good,' Whitaker said. He will jump the grey in Zurich next weekend before contesting April's World Cup final, where Milton will be bidding to repeat his victories of 1990 and 1991.

Nick Skelton, though qualified for the final, will not be participating. His intended partner, Major Wager, injured a tendon during yesterday's opening round and will not be fit to compete.

VOLVO WORLD CUP Qualifier (Paris): 1 Bollvorm's Libero (J Lansink, Neth) clear, 29.32sec; 2 Everest Milton (J Whitaker, GB) clear, 30.94; 3 Argelith's Piccolino (R Tebbel, Ger) clear, 33.13; 4 Everest Midnight Madness (M Whitaker, GB) 4 faults, 30.31. European League standings: 1 Lansink 116pts; 2 M Whitaker 93; 3 F Sloothaak (Ger) 89. Grand Slam final points: 1 Sloothaak 99; 2 L Beerbaum (Ger) 94; 3 H Simon (Aut) 83; 4 D Hafemeister (Ger) 75; 5 M Whitaker 68.