Equestrianism: Rozier makes triumphant return

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The Independent Online

Philippe Rozier celebrated his return to Olympia after a 10-year absence by winning yesterday's Christmas Cracker Stakes, the contest that determines the starting order for tomorrow's World Cup Qualifier at the London International Horse Show.

Philippe Rozier celebrated his return to Olympia after a 10-year absence by winning yesterday's Christmas Cracker Stakes, the contest that determines the starting order for tomorrow's World Cup Qualifier at the London International Horse Show.

The Frenchman, who now has the advantage of going last tomorrow, won on the nine-year-old bay mare, Heritiere d'Adrier, defeating Brazil's Rodrigo Pessoa on Baloubet du Rouet and Robert Whitaker, who was best of the British on Nicolette II.

Rozier, 41, has a similar background to Whitaker, having followed in the footsteps of a famous show jumping father, Marcel. He was only 20 when he competed at the 1984 Olympics, knowing that great things were expected of him.

Whitaker agrees that having a famous surname can add to the pressure, but this does not seem to bother him. "You just have to get on with it," he said yesterday.

Pessoa, who also had a famous father to follow, left the show as soon as he had collected his runner-up prize. He and Michael Whitaker (Robert's uncle) are competing in today's valuable grand prix at La Coruna in Spain before flying back to London in time for tomorrow's big contest here.

London International Horse Show (Olympia): Christmas Cracker Stakes: 1 Heritiere d'Adrier (P Rozier, Fr) clear, 49.95sec; 2 Baloubet du Rouet (R Pessoa, Br) clear, 51.78; 3 Nicolette II (R Whitaker, GB) clear, 52.94.

Accenture Young Show Jumper of the Year: 1 Salanka van 'T Hertsveld (R Prater) clear, 30.15sec; 2 Nobu II (C Platt) clear, 31.95; 3 Big Mystery (M Fursedonn) clear, 32.59.

Mitsubishi Ride and Drive (2nd heat): 1 Medeo (A Davies, GB) 72.36sec; 2 Little Lord Lady (G Puck, Aut) 72.86; 3 Riverside Glen (R Smith) 74.81.

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