Tinka's Boy, who was sold to the Swiss rider two years ago, is now "absolutely" the top horse in his yard. In yesterday's tight finish he defeated Toni Hassmann on Cabrio, Nelson Pessoa on Gandini Baloubet du Rouet and John Whitaker on Virtual Village Welham.
"I started off a bit slowly because I couldn't get a good rhythm down the first line," Whitaker said. Though beaten so narrowly on this account, he was delighted with the 19-year-old horse who had not jumped since winning the St Gallen Grand Prix on 30 May.
Before watching his former mount winning, Skelton ran into problems with the star of his current string when Hopes are High ploughed through the first two parts of the treble, finishing on 19.5 faults.
Meanwhile the continuing saga of the Coral Cove positive dope test rumbled on at home, with a press statement issued on behalf of the two officials who resigned: Giles Rowsell, chairman of the selectors, and Andy Bathe, the team vet.
One of the "crucial facts" they wished to make public was that the treatment administered to Coral Cove "was performed with the full prior knowledge" of the horse's rider, Polly Phillipps, and her horse-dealing husband, Vere. The rider had previously denied such knowledge.
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