Gay lords it

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THE World Cup preliminary round at Olympia, west London, yesterday promised much, attracting the best show jumpers seen in Britain for years, writes Mary Gordon Watson. We were not disappointed.

Seven survived the first round clear, thrilling the crowd with an awesome show of accuracy at speed. The young Brazilian Rodrigo Pessoa, going first on Loro Piana Rose Garden, was clear again, fluent and impressive but not fast enough. The Olympic and ex-world champion Ludger Beerbaum followed on Gay Lord, and some daring angles and turns cut a huge six seconds off Pessoa's time, clear in 33.49sec. Gay Lord's experience was fully tested, taking a vertical at a gallop from a 25-degree angle.

With last year's winner Jan Tops to come, as well as Hugo Simon, Nick Skelton, Lesley McNaught and Franke Sloothaak, a supreme effort was needed. All but McNaught rode clear again, but it was Britain's Nick Skelton on Everest Dollar Girl who came so close. They tried everything but ended just a 0.1sec behind Beerbaum.