Equestrianism: Christmas cheer for Alois as Paparazzi cannot be caught

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The Independent Online

Germany's Alois Pollmann-Schweckhorst opened the 10-horse jump-off for last night's Waverley TBS Christmas Stakes at the London International Horse Show here with a whirlwind clear round that nobody could match. Clear in 28.19sec on Paparazzi, he defeated Ireland's Jessica Kuerten on Quibell (28.36) and William Funnell, who was best of the British on Cortaflex Amber du Montois (29.61). The rest of the field made mistakes while chasing the German's time.

Ellen Whitaker teamed up with 12-year-old Jessica Crosby for an emotional victory in the Pony Club Mini-Major but Jessica's pleasure in victory was tinged with sadness at the thought that this was her last contest with the little 12.2 hands Coco Can because she will be too old to ride him next year.

Earlier, Ellen's uncle John Whitaker had ridden Lactic 2 to finish second behind Dutchman Eric Van der Vleuten in the Welcome Speed Stakes. He was beaten by a mere 0.15sec, but will be glad to have had a smooth warm-up for this evening's Accenture Puissance when speed will be of little importance as the big wall gets progressively higher for each round.

Ellen Whitaker will also be competing on Locarno as will John's son, Robert Whitaker, on Finbarr V, as the contest is transmitted live on prime-time television on BBC2.

Zara Phillips may have surprised a few people when she became the BBC Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday, but there was nothing remotely unexpected when she added to her clutch of awards by receiving the British Equestrian Writers' Association Trophy as Equestrian Personality of the Year. Phillips' chestnut mount Toytown was not to be outdone, winning the Petplan and KBIS horse of the year awards. "I'll show the trophies to him and then leave them outside his door so he can see them," she said.