Equestrianism: Smith enjoys a smooth ride

ROBERT SMITH and Senator Almare achieved their first international victory together when they won the Kerrygold Accumulator by a comfortable 3.11 seconds on the second day of the Dublin Horse Show yesterday.

Since buying the 13-year-old mare from Raymond Fenwick in May, Smith has won national classes at a variety of shows including the Suffolk County, the Great Yorkshire and the New Forest.

Smith is, however, likely to rely on 19-year-old Senator Tees Hanauer for Sunday's Kerrygold Grand Prix, the horse with which he won this event two years ago. The horse is also preferred for this month's European Championships at Hickstead in which Smith has already earned his place on the British squad.

A single error kept Smith and Tees Hanauer out of the jump-off for the later Kerrygold Classic, in which Geoff Billington and Virtual Village It's Otto returned to form by jumping a double clear round for fourth place.

Philippe Lejeune, who won this contest for Belgium on Double O Seven, made shorter, clearer turns, but Billington, the only Briton to reach the jump-off, settled happily for the slower clear round which has put him back on track for a possible place in the European Championship squad.

Billington and Smith, who are both competing here as individuals, could not be chosen for the British team that competes in today's Nations Cup. Ronnie Massarella has selected Nick Skelton to go first on Hopes are High, followed by Michael Whitaker on Virtual Village Ashley, Di Lampard on Abbervail Dream and John Whitaker on Flower.

Abbervail Dream made his only mistake in yesterday's opening round for the Kerrygold Classic at the third of the 13 fences. John Whitaker, on Welham, was another to drop out with one error.

KERRYGOLD DUBLIN HORSE SHOW: Kerrygold Accumulator: 1 Senator Almare (R Smith, GB) 65pts, 53.66secs; 2 Diamond Explosion (Capt G Flynn, Irl) 65pts, 56.55; 3 For Joy (J Kurten, Irl) 65pts, 56.76. Other GB: 4 O'Harry (N Skelton) 65pts, 61.07. Kerrygold Classic: 1 Double O Seven (P Lejeune, Bel) clear, 39.52secs; 2 Operette la Silla (J Tops, Neth) clear, 41.43; 3 Innocence (E Madden, US) clear, 42.89. Best GB: 4 Virtual Village It's Otto (G Billington) clear, 43.74.

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