Equestrianism: Rain-soaked Windsor calls a halt

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The Independent Online

The Royal Windsor Horse Show became the latest victim of the wet weather when all yesterday's classes were cancelled except the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix and the Daks Pony Club Mounted Games. "It was a regrettable decision, but we obviously had to make it for the safety of competitors and public alike," Simon Brooks-Ward, the Show Director, said.

Having returned only eight days earlier from Iraq (where he was Commanding Officer of the Royal Yeomanry, a Territorial Army regiment) Brooks-Ward said that it was "like moving from one war zone to another." Yesterday's churned-up mud in the deserted Castle Arena confirmed that impression.

An all-weather surface should be laid in the main arena in time for next year's show, assuming planning permission is granted. It may have been possible to run the grand prix for show jumping on an all-weather surface yesterday, but most of the other classes would still have had to be cancelled as Saturday's deluge left acres of mud on the walkways, collecting rings and other arenas.

After calling off the grand prix on Saturday and the other classes at 6.30am yesterday, Brooks-Ward said that the riders and those in charge of the trade stands had been "very understanding". Robert Smith won the last contest in the Castle Arena on Kalusha in Saturday's Land Rover Speed Stakes, finishing only 0.48sec ahead of Michael Whitaker on his new mount, Wales Wisper.

ROYAL WINDSOR HORSE SHOW (Windsor, Berks) Saturday: Land Rover Speed Stakes: 1 Kalusha (R Smith, GB) clear, 65.72sec; 2 Wales Wisper (M Whitaker, GB) clear, 66.20; 3 Give Me Remus (B Twomey, Irl) clear, 67.14. Sunday: Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix – Horse Teams: 1 H de Ruyter (Neth) 145.53 penalties; 2 B Exell (Aus) 147.58; 3 F Brasseur (Bel) 151.27; 4 K Bassett (GB) 161.29. Pony Teams: 1 A Van de Kamp (Neth) 145.70; 2 M Allo (Bel) 154.84; 3 A Grayston (GB) 162.16; 4 P Gammell (GB) 178.58.

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