Equestrianism: Milton in search of richer pickings

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The Independent Online
JOHN WHITAKER and Henderson Milton will be setting out on the trail towards their second million when they compete in the Pavarotti International Horse Show, which begins here today.

Milton became the first showjumping horse to pass the pounds 1m mark in prize money when he won pounds 2,000 in Donaueschingen last weekend. Whitaker, who first teamed up with Tom and Doreen Bradley's marvellous grey gelding in 1985, will be as keen as ever to boost the horse's record winnings with some of the rich pickings on offer over the next four days.

The show, of which Luciano Pavarotti is an enthusiastic president, offers a European record prize fund of nearly pounds 250,000. Many of the world's leading riders are competing - among them Germany's Olympic champion, Ludger Beerbaum, and France's world and European champion, Eric Navet.

John Whitaker heads a strong British squad, he is joined by his younger brother, Michael, David Broome, Nick Skelton and Robert Smith. Skelton's Warwickshire yard has recently been strengthened by the arrival of Double Take, the New Zealand horse who was Mark Todd's Olympic mount. The new pair made a promising start with a second place at Camberley last weekend, but Skelton will be relying on longer-standing partners when he rides Everest Limited Edition and Florida here.

The United States team was reduced to four when Lisa Jaquin flew home this week on receiving the news of her father's death. She had ridden For The Moment to victory in the Donaueschingen grand prix last Sunday, and was a member of the US Olympic team.

The show, which is held on the outskirts of Pavarotti's Italian home town, will host the Nations Cup of San Marino tomorrow. After their disappointment in Barcelona, the British team will hope to reproduce the form they showed when winning the Nations Cup in Calgary earlier this month.

They will also be anxious to win the Raymond Brooks-Ward Memorial Trophy, presented as a tribute to the British television commentator who was director of this show until his death last month. It will be presented to the country which gained most points on the leading riders list in the show's nine competitions.

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