Equestrianism: Ward puts United States in the clear

The next four countries in the line-up finished so close that only a single fault separated them, with the Netherlands and France sharing second place on 21 faults, followed by Britain and Switzerland who were equal fourth on 22. To the disappointment of the enormous crowd, the German team (whose four riders are lying first, second, fourth and seventh on the world rankings) were second last of the eight nations in contention.

The British had been lying a close third at half-time, thanks to clear rounds from Michael Whitaker on Portofino and his 19-year-old niece, Ellen Whitaker, who incurred a single fault for exceeding the time on AK Locarno.

Nick Skelton aided the British cause with a clear second round on Arko III before hopes of victory slipped away with 13 faults from William Funnell on Cortaflex Mondriaan and 12 from Ellen Whitaker. Another clear round from Michael Whitaker would have secured second place, but Portofino tipped a pole off the 10th fence.

Billy Twomey was the unluckiest rider of all. Last to go for Ireland, he was on his way to a clear round until Anastasia III stopped at the final element of the treble, which was the last fence on the course. Had he completed a clear round, Ireland would have finished second, collecting seven points on the Super League instead of the booby score of 0.5 which has left them lanquishing at the bottom of the table and under the threat of relegation to show jumping's second division.

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