Equestrianism: Skelton's victory on Arko III brings hope of British revival
Monday 29 May 2006
Nick Skelton became the first British winner of the Rome Grand Prix since Malcolm Pyrah triumphed here 31 years ago. For good measure Michael Whitaker filled the runner-up place with the only other double clear round of a contest that was held under cloudless blue skies, bringing renewed hopes that a long-awaited British revival had begun.
Skelton was riding the fantastic Arko III whose owner, John Hales, had received an award here on Friday in recognition of his stallion being the leading show jumping horse on the world rankings for the second year running.
His clear round was smart enough to put pressure on those who followed, since it was fast but far from unbeatable.
Whitaker, riding the classy 10-year-old stallion, Mozart des Hayettes, then came within a second of catching his compatriot to slot into second place.
The two Britons had a fraught time watching the remaining riders - in particular the last three, who all made errors when recording faster times. Franke Sloothaak seemed to have the first prize until galloping Legurio into the final wall where the horse removed one top brick.
"It's taken me 25 years to win this class," Skelton said. "You could have waited for 26," quipped Whitaker, who was also eager to add a first Rome Grand Prix victory to his curriculum vitae.
Whitaker was nevertheless delighted. He had ridden Mozart in this contest because Derek Ricketts, performance manager of the British team, had wanted to see the horse jump in a grand prix before picking him for a Nations Cup.
Yesterday's two courses were by far the biggest that Mozart has ever tackled. Having risen to the occasion with such polished gusto, the desired place could be on offer pretty soon.
Latest in Sport
Commonwealth Games 2014 Opening Ceremony: Ewan McGregor launches Unicef charity fundraiser, making £2.5m in one night
Manchester United transfer news: Arturo Vidal subject of £39m bid
Sami Khedira, Isco and Angel di Maria among Real Madrid players up for grabs this summer
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers (and giant cans of Irn Bru) welcome in Glasgow's Games
Louis van Gaal gets tough with Manchester United players, with Darren Fletcher and Luke Shaw berated in public and Phil Jones left looking bemused
- 1 I was a Woman Against Feminism too
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 4 The Tory donor whose firm is one of Britain’s biggest tax avoiders - with HMRC's blessing
- 5 John Barrowman praised for Commonwealth Games opening ceremony gay kiss
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
£30000 per annum: Harrington Starr: My client, a researcher of investment idea...
£63000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A market leading provider of technology dr...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A world leading brokerage is looking for a...
£55000 - £65000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading global exchange is look...