Equestrianism: Leaping Libero: Skelton pipped

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JOS LANSINK took an early lead in the Volvo World Cup final when he rode the athletic Bollvorm's Libero to victory in the first leg of the competition here last night from Britain's Nick Skelton on Everest Limited Edition.

Libero has the ability to throw enormous leaps from short turns and the Dutchman used this abililty to telling effect. He took over Skelton's long-time lead, but the Briton is better placed than he had anticipated as current runner- up. The British-born Lesley McNaught-Mandli, now riding for Switzerland, is lying third on Panok Goldrausch.

Skelton had not expected to compete here after his intended partner, Major Wager, was injured in Paris last month. But he made a late decision to bring Limited Edition and the Belgian-bred gelding celebrated his return to competition with an enthusiastic round.

Michael Whitaker, well fancied to win the cup, which ends with Sunday's third leg, has leeway to make up on Midnight Madness. A single error, costing six seconds in this speed competition, left him in 15th place.

VOLVO WORLD CUP FINAL ('s Hertogenbosch) First leg: 1 Bollvorm's Libero (J Lansink, Neth) 64.77s; 2 Everest Limited Edition (N Skelton, GB) 66.93; 3 Panok Goldrausch (L McNaught-Mandli, Switz) 67.77; 4 Crown Royal Artos (M Leone, US) 68.55; 5 Desteny (J Zoer, Neth) 69.77; 6 Let's Go (R Bril, Neth) 69.92). Other British placings: 15 Everest Midnight Madness (M Whitaker) 73.76; 34 Everest Grannusch (J Whitaker) 91.90. Cehave Prize: 1 Everest Showtime (N Skelton, GB) clear, 28.61; 2 Macho (R Ehrens, Neth) clear, 29.46; 3 Everest Elton (M Whitaker, GB) clear, 29.96.