Equestrianism: Major Wager comes off

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The Independent Online
NICK SKELTON rode a swift round to win yesterday's first warm-up class for the Volvo World Cup on Everest Major Wager, who will be his mount when the contest begins in earnest with this evening's first leg of the final, writes Genevieve Murphy from Gothenburg.

While others opted to give their World Cup horses an easy school in yesterday's contest, Skelton saw no point in jumping slowly. 'That's the pace he normally goes,' he said, after winning by 5.44 seconds.

Despite his victory, Skelton was critical of Roland Nilsson's course. 'The distance in the treble was too long and the fence in the middle was too wide,' he said. 'You expect a big course for the final, but what's the point in building something like that for a warm-up course?'

Katie Prudent (US), Peter Eriksson (Sweden) and Hisanori Kato (Japan) all fell at the treble. Prudent, who fractured her skull in a fall two years ago, was taken to hospital with a suspected broken collarbone and may be sidelined for the duration. Australia's George Sanna had a crashing fall at another fence in the jump-off. His mount, Isaiah, is unlikely to take any further part.

WORLD CUP FINAL (Gothenburg): Warm- up class: 1 Everest Major Wager (N Skelton, GB), clear, 37.57 sec; 2 Romantik 34 (C Itajahy Camarao, Bra) clear, 43.01; 3 Nistria (L Nieberg, Ger) one fault, 60.99.