Equestrianism: Skelton's clear perspective gains edge over Whitaker

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Nick Skelton jumped another two flawless clear rounds, this time on the nine-year-old grey Russel, to win the Grand Prix on the closing day of the Royal Windsor Horse Show here yesterday. He defeated teh 21-year-old Robert Whitaker, who might have thought that he had gone fast enough to win on Qualite had Skelton not been immediately behind him in the six-horse jump-off.

Nick Skelton jumped another two flawless clear rounds, this time on the nine-year-old grey Russel, to win the Grand Prix on the closing day of the Royal Windsor Horse Show here yesterday. He defeated teh 21-year-old Robert Whitaker, who might have thought that he had gone fast enough to win on Qualite had Skelton not been immediately behind him in the six-horse jump-off.

While watching Whitaker's round, Skelton had identified a couple of places where he could take out a stride and he won with 1.01sec in hand. William Funnell was 2.58sec behind the runner-up to fill third place on Douglas Bunn's Buddy Bunn.

Skelton had already jumped double clear rounds here on Pandur, with whom he won Friday's main class and was a close third in Saturday's Gentlemen's Championship. Arko III, Skelton's likely Olympic mount, was having a weekend off. This pair and Russel are the only three horses he rides these days, but he could not ask for a nicer trio. "That's why I don't want any more," he said.

The three, who are all owned by John Hales and his daughter, Lisa, will travel to Rome later this month and then move on to Lucerne and Cannes. "I don't have to think about which horses I'm taking these days, I just take them all," Skelton said.

ROYAL WINDSOR: Grand Prix: 1 Russel (N Skelton) clear, 52.92sec; 2 Qualite (R Whitaker) clear, 53.93; 3 Buddy Bunn (W Funnell) clear, 56.51. Jaguar Gentlemen's Championship: 1 Hosire des Chaines (R Bevis) clear, 49.97; 2 Sandica (M Whitaker) clear, 50.02; 3 Pandur (N Skelton) clear, 50.08. Ladies Jumping Championship: 1 Cosmic Lady (L Ashe) clear, 49.63; 2 Corleone Two (V Young) 4 faults, 45.54; 3 Retreat's Uppercut (C Robertson) 4 faults in first round. Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix: Pony teams: 1 J van Dorresteijn (Neth) 159.27 penalties; 2 M Allo (Bel) 165.95; 3 Duke of Edinburgh (GB) 200.77. Horse teams: 1 B Exell (Aus) 127.99; 2 F Brasseur (Bel) 129.18; 3 J Dobrovitz (Hun) 136.93.

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