Equestrianism: Slick Sloothaak makes giant leap to victory: Horse feathers fly at seasonal circus as brothers get on their marks

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The Independent Online
FRANKE SLOOTHAAK rode a round of controlled daring to win yesterday evening's Modern Security Christmas Cake Challenge at the Olympia Show Jumping Championships. The German's mount was San Patrignano Corrado, a giant of a horse at nearly 18 hands, who made nimble turns and powerful leaps to defeat David Broome on Lannegan by 4.24sec.

Germany also filled third place through Ludger Beerbaum, who had the only other clear round on Almox Ratina. Beerbaum was content to take his time yesterday, but he will be putting up a far more determined challenge when he rides the same mare in today's Volvo World Cup final, which she won here last year.

Michael Whitaker had help from his elder brother, John, when he defeated Sloothaak and gained his third victory of the show in the Christmas Pudding Accumulator. John Whitaker had watched Sloothaak take the lead on the stallion, San Patrignano Mister, and he gave his brother precise instructions on how to beat him. It involved cutting inside an obstacle between fences two and three and taking out a stride on his approach to each of the last two fences.

Michael followed his brother's instructions to the letter on Everest Lifestyle, finishing with the maximum 36 points in a time that was 0.32sec faster than Sloothaak's.

OLYMPIA SHOW JUMPING CHAMPIONSHIPS: Christmas Pudding Accumulator: 1 Everest Lifestyle (M Whitaker, GB) 36pts, 32.70secs; 2 San Patrignano Mister (F Sloothaak, Ger) 36pts, 33.02; 3 Wessex Fields of Athenry (P Sutton, GB) 35.01. Christmas Cracker Stakes: 1 Adelfos and Singapur (M Fuchs, Swit) 69.68secs; 2 Balou and O'Flynn (N Coupe, GB) 70.90; 3 Clover and Lucilla (R Smith, GB) 72.36. Modern Security Christmas Cake Challenge: 1 San Patrignano Corrado (F Sloothaak, Ger) clear, 28.62; 2 Lannegan (D Broome, GB) clear, 32.86; 3 Almox Ratina (L Beerbaum, Ger) clear, 39.27. Holly Bareback Puissance: 1= Everest If Ever (G Luckett, GB), Bockmann Town (L McNaught-Mandli, Swit ) and Everest Lifestyle (M Whitaker, GB) clear in 4th jump-off with wall at 6ft 7in.

(Photograph omitted)

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