Equestrianism: Sloothaak wins the right result

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The Independent Online


reports from Aachen

Franke Sloothaak gave a huge and well-informed audience the result they wanted yesterday when winning the European Union Prize with San Patrignano Joly on the second day of the German Nations Cup meeting. He was bound to be a hero with the Aachen crowds, having won team and individual gold medals for Germany at last year's World Equestrian Games.

Sloothaak won from a Dutchman (Jan Tops) and the Swiss European champion (Willi Melliger), with two Irishmen (John Ledingham and Trevor Coyle) fourth and fifth. The best British placing was Nick Skelton's 23rd with Everest Dollar Girl, who had two errors in the opening round.

Warren Clarke (on Benjumin II) and Geoff Billington (with It's Otto) also had two mistakes, for which they both blamed themselves. "I rode like a prat at the second fence," Billington said, after approaching it far too slowly and having it down.

But it was the Whitaker brothers who fared worst of the Britons. Michael had three fences down on Everest Midnight Madness, who was an impressive winner here on Tuesday, and John retired Welham after a mistake at the water - which was only the third of the 14 fences.

Whitaker felt that Welham was lame after landing slightly short at the water jump. Welham will be resting when John Whitaker rides Grannusch in today's main class.

Skelton jumped a swift and smooth clear round to finish third for the later Vegla Prize on Everest Sublime.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 27