EQUESTRIANISM; Whitaker's Amber nectar

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The Independent Online
JOHN WHITAKER coaxed a swift clear round from the talented but difficult mare, Amber du Montois, to win yesterday's Hildon Gentleman's Jumping Championship on another rainy day at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. The Briton stayed ahead by the smallest possible margin, 0.01sec, to defeat Frenchman Florian Angot on Drakkar des Hutins.

Whitaker went to the tack shop on Thursday to buy an American gag, which is the latest of many bits he has tried on Amber du Montois. It seemed effective yesterday, as did the cotton wool which he stuffed in the mare's ears because she seems particularly sensitive to noise.

Though she is difficult, Whitaker believes Amber du Montois, who came to him towards the end of last year, has enormous ability. This is only the second outdoor show in which he has ridden her and he finds her marginally easier than in the restricted space of indoor arenas.

On Wednesday another mare, the experienced Vink Flower (formerly ridden for the Netherlands by Eric van der Vleuten) arrived at Whitaker's yard in Yorkshire. Flower, who is likely to compete in the Swiss Nations Cup meeting at St Gallen at the end of this month with his new rider, could prove to be the star of Whitaker's string.

Results, Digest, page 27

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