Equestrianism: The withdrawal of Milton irks British manager

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The Independent Online
THE NEWS that Everest Milton will not be competing at this month's European show jumping championships in Spain was relayed, via the British press here, to the team manager, Ronnie Massarella.

'I'm annoyed that nobody bothered to tell me first,' Massarella said, with understandable anger. 'You'd have thought that I should have been the first to know.'

Milton, the mount of John Whitaker, has not competed since injuring himself at Hickstead in May. 'I knew John was worried about him. If Milton went lame after the first round and had to be withdrawn, John felt he would be letting down the team,' Massarella said, 'But as far as I knew, he was taking Milton to Royan next week and making his mind up there.'

Whitaker will now ride Gammon, the winner of last month's Arnhem Grand Prix, in the European championships.

The team manager received the news during yesterday's Nations Cup, which was won by the hosts, France, after a hero's round in the jump-off against Germany from their world and European champion, Eric Navet, on Waiti Quito de Baussy.

Britain, aided by two smooth clear rounds from Nick Skelton on Everest Dollar Girl, shared third place with Switzerland and Belgium. David Broome, named as a reserve for the European team, came close to following suit. His only mistake came in the first round when Lannegan clipped the front pole off the last fence.

Mark Armstrong had two errors each time on Corella. Warren Clarke had three in the first round with Benjumin and retired in the second after the horse had caught and injured a front foot on the 10th fence.

NATIONS CUP (La Baule, Fr): 1 France, 12 faults, clear in jump off, 120.64sec; 2 Germany, 12, clear, 122.75; 3= Great Britain, Switzerland, Belgium, 20.