Equestrianism: Faultless Algotsson clears to claim first World Cup

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The Independent Online

Linda Algotsson collected the first prize in the inaugural Eventing World Cup final here yesterday, after jumping a polished clear round in the rain on Stand By Me, who looked splendidly fit and fresh despite his efforts at the European Championships in Ireland five weeks earlier when the Swedish woman won the individual silver medal.

Algotsson could have clobbered three show jumping fences yesterday without losing her advantage but she did not need to use any of her points in hand when defeating New Zealand's Andrew Nicholson on Fenicio by a commanding 13.6 penalties.

There were no British riders to applaud Algotsson's victory, for all five who had started the contest here on Friday made an early departure after failing to complete Saturday's cross-country.

Clare Chamberlayne made the saddest return journey of all, having lost her much-loved Headley Kingdom who had to be put down. The 12-year-old sustained serious damage to the ligaments around his off-fore pastern when he attempted to take both parts of the fourth (and most influential) of the 27 fences in one bold leap.

Chamberlayne, at 23 the youngest of the British contingent, had taken a week off her work for a London-based charity in order to compete here.

Julie Tew had the first of her two falls with Sir Roselier at the same obstacle. Polly Stockton parted company with Oscar at the eighth fence, and James Robinson came unstuck coming out of the second water complex at fence 25 with Comanche. William Fox-Pitt then set the seal on a depressing day for the British visitors when Stunning, widely tipped as the likely winner of this contest, stopped at the11th fence.

Fox-Pitt called it a day with the 17-year-old horse who will now take a well earned rest before he reappears next year.

In contrast with the British, Algotsson made the tough course look deceptively easy. "I just kept riding forward all the time," she said of her round.

Clear rounds proved hard to achieve over yesterday's show jumping. Nicholson, who had one of them, advanced from sixth to second place.

Gina Miles, of the United States, moved up even further when McKinlaigh's clear round raised her from ninth to third. The Frenchman Pascal Leroy, in second place after the cross-country, moved in the opposite direction to finish fifth after two errors.

Final Result (Pau, France): 1 Stand By Me (L Algotsson, Swe) 38.0 penalties; 2 Fenicio (A Nicholson, NZ) 51.6; 3 McKinlaigh (G Miles, US) 53.0; 4 Bordou (P Thomsen, Ger) 54.3; 5 Eersteling du Leou (P Leroy, Fr) 57.1; 6 Fleuron des Pres (H Bernard, Fr) 60.7.