Equestrianism: Whitaker rides to Windsor triumph

JOHN WHITAKER rode the huge Irish-bred Virtual Village Diamond Cliff, one of the latest additions to his string of show jumpers, to win the pounds 13,000 first prize in yesterday's Asprey Grand Prix on the closing day of The Royal Windsor Horse Show.

This was Whitaker's fourth - and biggest - win with the horse who is 17 hands and, as the rider said, "big with it." But he is also remarkably agile for his size, as Whitaker proved when defeating two of the top overseas riders: Peter Geerink, of The Netherlands, on LBH Granata and the Frenchman Michel Robert on Auleto.

Peter Charles was the only one to beat Whitaker's time and he would have gained his second victory of the weekend for his new Traxdata sponsors but for Carnavelly clipping a rail off the final fence.

Georgina Frith held onto her overnight lead to win the pony teams section of the Asprey International Driving Grand Prix, despite dislodging one cone in yesterday's obstacle driving with her four Welsh ponies who won the European Championship with her last year.

George Bowman, who had been aiming for his 10th consecutive win (and his 13th overall) in the horse teams slipped back to second place after the marathon and remained there yesterday. His conqueror was the Dutchman, Harry de Ruyter, who had been runner-up to Bowman on two previous occasions here.

The Windsor show had a new and more compact lay-out this year and, despite being reduced from five days to four, overall attendance of around 40,000 represented an increase of nearly 20 per cent. With more improvements in the pipeline, it is sure to grow in size and stature.

Results, Digest, page 18

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