Equestrianism: Whitaker misses by a whisker

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PATRICE DELAVEAU, of France, won yesterday's marathon contest for the Prix Ouest France, but it would have been a different story had Michael Whitaker's mount, Everest My Mesieur cleared the final fence, writes Genevieve Murphy from La Baule, France.

Whitaker had travelled through the night to be here in time for this contest, having jumped on the first two days of the Great Yorkshire show where he won both contests on Tuesday. He had more than two seconds in hand when taking a flier to the last fence yesterday and, when the top pole fell, he was pushed back to 25th place.

David Broome jumped the only clear round for Britain to finish eighth on Lannegan. The Welshman wasted no time, but eschewed an all-out race against the clock.

With 83 horses taking part, it took more than three hours to complete the competition which was judged on time in the opening round.

Nick Skelton also set out in a hurry with both Dollar Girl and his winning King's Cup mount, Everest Limited Edition, who would have been third but for a single error.

With today's Nations Cup and Sunday's Grand Prix in mind, as well as the European Championships which begin at Gijon in Spain on 28 July, the riders mainly used the contest for a warm-up. Both Mark Armstrong on Corella (four faults) and Whitaker on Twostep (12 faults) jumped round slowly.

LA BAULE NATIONS CUP MEETING (France): Prix Ouest France: 1 Orient de Frebourg (P Delaveau, Fr) clear, 70.88sec; 2 Quinta C (W Melliger, Swit) clear, 74.21; 3 Sherkan di San Patrignano (F Fourcade, Sp) clear, 76.00. Best Briton: 8 Lannegan (D Broome) clear, 81.52.