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
MK Dons 4 Manchester United 0: Emmanuel Frimpong and Edin Dzeko lead the jokes as the internet reacts to humiliating defeat
Paul Scholes: Manchester City were so good against Liverpool I felt like turning the television off
Manchester United transfer news: Daley Blind will only move for 'top price'
Arsenal vs Besiktas match report: Alexis Sanchez scores only goal as Gunners survive night of nerves to qualify for Champions League
Arsenal vs Besiktas player ratings: Alexis Sanchez? Jack Wilshere? Mesut Ozil? Who was the star man at the Emirates Stadium?
- 1 Miley Cyrus' homeless MTV VMAs date, Jesse Helt, is wanted by the police
- 2 Arizona shooting: Gun instructor accidentally killed by nine-year-old girl with Uzi
- 3 Paul Scholes: Manchester City were so good against Liverpool I felt like turning the television off
- 4 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 5 Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Arizona shooting: Gun instructor accidentally killed by nine-year-old girl with Uzi
£38000 - £45000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...
£28000 - £32500 Per Annum + 28 days holiday, pension, discounts and more: Clea...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum + 25 days holiday and bonus: Clearwater People Solut...
£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Re...