Equestrianism: Stockdale sets fast pace towards Horsemaster: Jump-off joy for Toggi Santas Echo as Pyrah and Goosen are left in the lurch

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The Independent Online
TIM STOCKDALE is eager to secure one of the four places in Saturday's Toyota British Horsemaster contest at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. He made that quite clear yesterday when speeding round in the jump-off for the Toyota Grade A Jumping on Toggi Santas Echo to win the first qualifier.

'I wouldn't normally have gone for the kill so quickly, but I really want to get into the Horsemasters,' Stockdale said of the contest in which riders compete on their own and each other's horses. Yesterday's prize was a modest pounds 275, which the rider will share with the horse's owner, Sue Chubb.

Stockdale's half-share will be donated to the leukaemia unit at Leicester Royal Infirmary where his 24-year-old sister, Marie Dearlove, has recently come off a life-support machine.

His victory on the once recalcitrant Santas Echo was achieved at the expense of Malcolm Pyrah on Itziweeni and Guy Goosen on Sky Breeze. Afterwards Stockdale recalled jumping the gelding in the 1992 Horse of the Year Show at Wembley.

'He was eliminated for three refusals in his first class there, he wouldn't go an inch,' Stockdale said. 'I wanted to switch to another horse for the rest of the show, but they wouldn't let me. So I rode him again and he finished third in the next competition.'

Stockdale is first reserve for the British team at next week's Nations Cup meeting at Hickstead. The five riders chosen for the British squad at the Sussex venue are John and Michael Whitaker, Nick Skelton, Kelly Brown and David Bowen.

John Whitaker, who did not enter for yesterday's class, will be riding Everest Gammon at Windsor and Hickstead.

ROYAL WINDSOR HORSE SHOW (Berks): Toyota Grade A Jumping: 1 Toggi Santas Echo (T Stockdale) clear, 35.25sec; 2 Itziweeni (M Pyrah) clear, 38.74; 3 Sky Breeze (G Goosen) clear, 39.19. TNT Mountain and Moorland Ridden Championship: Ernford Bellboy (C Smalley). Reserve: Chiltern Royalty (V Compton).

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