Equestrianism: Skelton's warm-up

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The Independent Online
'I'M going to win this class,' Nick Skelton said, before riding Everest Limited Edition to victory yesterday. He was competing in the optional warm-up contest for riders taking part in the European Show Jumping Championships in which he partners Dollar Girl, writes Genevieve Murphy from Gijon, Spain.

Riders jumped cautiously on their championship horses. Dollar Girl had a slow clear round, but Skelton was under no constraint with his second horse and he sent Limited Edition round at a scorching pace.

Ronnie Massarella, the British team manager, was satisfied with the performances of his championship horses who were all deliberately slow. Dollar Girl and Corella (Mark Armstrong) went clear; both Everest Midnight Madness (Michael Whitaker) and Gammon (John Whitaker) made a single error.

After consultation with the riders, Massarella announced that Armstrong, the newcomer to the team, will be first to go in today's speed competition which is the first leg of the championships. 'If Corella goes clear, at a reasonable pace, the other three can go for it,' Massarella said.

Skelton, normally first to go for the team, will be the second Briton to jump today - followed by Michael and John Whitaker. The strategy puts great responsibility on Armstrong, but he appears to be unruffled. 'Mark thought it was a good idea,' Massarella said.

EUROPEAN SHOW JUMPING CHAMPIONSHIPS (Gijon, Sp) Optional warm-up: 1 Everest Limited Edition (N Skelton, GB) clear, 54.66sec; 2 Interpane Shandor (M Fuchs, Swit) clear, 57.00; 3 Trudo Fidelgo (L Philippaerts, Bel) clear, 59.48.

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