Equestrianism: Whitaker makes gain in change of name game

MICHAEL WHITAKER proved that changing a horse's name halfway through a show is not a recipe for disaster, whatever the superstitious might say.

His nine-year-old mount had begun the Royal Windsor Horse Show as Everest Polydektes but was renamed Twostep - in accordance with the wishes of his new owner, Sir Phil Harris - by the time he won yesterday's Caradon Everest Men's Jumping.

Whitaker last won this contest 16 years ago as a 17-year-old. Yesterday, he jumped a swift clear round on the German-bred bay gelding but knew that his time was likely to be beaten by Nick Skelton. 'It doesn't matter how fast you go, if Nick comes after you he goes faster,' Whitaker said.

Skelton proved the point by finishing a split second ahead but at the expense of four faults on Everest Limited Edition. James Fisher eventually filled second place on Bow River Queen, with Skelton third.

On Saturday, Whitaker had lost to Skelton in the Toyota Area International Trial but he went on to win the British Horsemaster, in which four riders rode their own and each other's horses.

Counting the pounds 500 won by his wife, Veronique, Whitaker took home about pounds 8,000 - which represented a good haul for a national show.

Belgium's Edwin Flerackers moved up one place to win the pony teams section of the Harrods International Driving Grand Prix. The Duke of Edinburgh finished sixth after a clear round in yesterday's obstacle, driving with four of the Queen's Fell ponies.

(Photograph omitted)

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