Equestrianism: Goffinet has winning start but Britons in good form

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The Independent Online

Laurent Goffinet had a satisfying start to the Dublin Super League Show when he rode Flipper d'Elle to win yesterday's Irish Sports Council Classic. The 37-year-old Frenchman, who rides in his first Nations Cup tomorrow, defeated Wim Schroder, of the Netherlands, by 1.52sec.

It was also a satisfactory opening day for the British, with Michael Whitaker filling third place on Abrisca and Nick Skelton finishing fifth on Arko III, whose two clear rounds were enormously impressive. Whitaker had given Fleur a first look at the Dublin arena when he teamed up with Ireland's Jessica Burke and jumped clear to be sixth in the Pairs Relay. He will be riding the mare again in today's Power and Speed.

Robert Smith, fresh from a holiday in Spain, rode Gerry Maguire into second place in the Speed Stakes - a marathon contest with 53 starters in which Ireland's Conor Swail finished a split second ahead of the British rider. Smith had first seen his mount at the nearby Dun Laoghaire Show last year and, having liked him immediately, succeeded in buying him.

DUBLIN SUPER LEAGUE SHOW: Irish Sports Council Classic: 1 Flipper d'Elle (L Goffinet, Fr) clear, 41.36sec; 2 Eurocommerce Montreal (W Schroder, Neth) clear, 42.88; 3 Abrisca (M Whitaker, GB) clear, 43.73. Speed Stakes: 1 Windgates Mystique (C Swail, Irl) 51.66sec; 2 Gerry Maguire (R Smith, GB) 52.52; 3 That's Life (M Hecart, Fr) 52.81.