Equestrianism: Smith looking for a repeat as he closes in on Helsinki
Thursday 18 December 1997
Robert Smith will be without Senator Tees Hanauer when he competes in the Olympia Show Jumping Championships, which begin their five-day run this afternoon. The 17-year-old horse, who carried Smith to victory in the Volvo World Cup qualifier at Olympia last year, is sidelined with a minor injury. Smith will therefore rely on either 10-year-old Senator Scharn or the 11-year-old stallion, For the Best, on Saturday afternoon when he attempts to repeat last year's World Cup success. Scharn won a class at Amsterdam in October but, because of various "daft little things" he has since been rested.
Smith is lying 11th (and best of the British) in the Western European League of the World Cup from which the top 18 qualify for the April final in Helsinki. He already has 35 points and another seven should be enough to ensure qualification.
The Whitaker brothers are well behind at the moment, with Michael 27th on 19pts and John 57th with a mere seven. John will choose between his two top horses, Virtual Village Welham and Grannusch, when he attempts to improve his placing on Saturday. These were the two partners he rode to be runner-up in this year's World Cup final.
As always, the World Cup contest will be a hotly competitive class, with 11 of the current top 12 riders in the world in contention. The participants will include the two great Germans, Frank Sloothaak (the world champion) and Ludger Beerbaum (holder of the European title) as well as the consistent Dutchman, Eric van der Vleuten, who is currently leading the Western European League.
Sloothaak is back in action after dislocating his right shoulder in a painful fall at Stuttgart in October.
A total of 38 riders from 11 countries will be jumping for prizes worth pounds 230,000. These include a Volvo car (worth pounds 20,000) on offer in the World Cup qualifier, a possible winner-takes-all prize of pounds 21,000 for Sunday afternoon's Vink Christmas Masters and the pounds 16,000 which goes to the winner of Monday evening's Olympia Grand Prix.
The programme also includes lighter entertainment, notably from two old favourites: the Pedigree Chum Dog Agility Stakes and the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National. A new display, from the Frenchman Jean-Francois Pignon, has been hailed as an amazing example of communication between a man and his horses.
Latest in Sport
How Liverpool can catch Manchester United and secure Champions League football next season
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger reveals: 'We are not close to signing anybody. We need to lose some players'
Danny Jones: Keighley Cougars half-back dies after cardiac arrest during league game
Chelsea season player ratings: Grading the entire squad of the new Premier League champions
Which celebrities were ringside in Las Vegas to watch Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao?
- 5 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...
£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...
£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...
£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...