Fisher wins Golden Saddle in jump-off

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The Independent Online
Equestrianism

reports from Wembley

James Fisher had his best ever home victory when he rode the 13-year- old mare, Bowriver Queen, to win last night's Golden Saddle Grand Prix on the closing day of the Horse of the Year Show.

In a jump-off between 11 horses, Fisher defeated a whirlwind round from Mennell Watson on Uptons LB, which was the only one that he had watched on the monitor. Germany's Heinrich Engemann finished third on Cat Ballou, who had the only other clear round of the jump-off.

Fisher's success in the Geneva World Cup qualifier in 1994 would have made more of an impact on the international stage, but the Wembley win was nevertheless immensely satisfying. "I don't win many grand prix," he said, after his victory with the mare who has to have her back feet built up with compound resin in order to fit shoes to them.

John Whitaker, whose three wins on Saturday included a joint victory in the Puissance (with his brother, Michael, and Geoff Billington) dropped out with four faults on Grannusch in the first round.

The earlier World Cup qualifier for dressage, in which Canada's Penny Rockx and Britain's Richard Davidson filled the top two places, ended in disarray. The talented young German rider, Heiner Schiergen, was eliminated when the first part of his musical accompaniment was found to be missing during the freestyle test. The appeals committee upheld the judges' decision but will recommend that in future riders hear their tapes prior to competition.

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