Equestrianism: Midnight Madness' daytime woe

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BELGIUM'S Jean-Claude Vangeenberghe and the nimble little mare, Osta Carpets Queen, repeated their 1989 victory when winning yesterday's Rome Grand Prix. They had the benefit of going last in the five-horse jump-off and luck gave them an extra bonus when Everest Midnight Madness, the mount of Britain's Michael Whitaker who was second last, stroked a pole of an early upright, writes Genevieve Murphy from Rome.

'I suppose I should be pleased, but I'm disappointed,' Whitaker said. 'It looked an easy one to win once the first three had made mistakes; my horse was jumping so well I went in there thinking I could do it.'

Though faster than Vangeenberghe, Whitaker was 0.2sec slower than France's Michel Robert on Nonix, who eventually finished second - one place ahead of Whitaker.

ROME GRAND PRIX: 1 Osta Carpets Queen (J-C Vangeenberghe, Bel) clear, 36.23sec; 2 San Patrignano Nonix (M Robert, Fr) 4 faults, 34.42; 3 Everest Midnight Madness (M Whitaker, GB) 4, 34.62. Premio Golia: 1 Athlet (W Melliger, Swit) 30pts, 61.40; 2 Bogdan (M Porro, It) 30, 63.04; 3 Everest My Monsieur (M Whitaker) 29, 57.55.