Equestrianism: Weinberg sets standard to dazzle on homecoming
Monday 22 December 2003
Helena Weinberg took the plum prize of £18,500 when she won yesterday's Sony Ericsson World Cup Qualifier on nine-year-old Kasting Horses Gavi.
In the process, Weinberg, who rode for Britain until switching to her husband's German nationality in 1987, defeated some of the leading men in the sport: Markus Ehning, also representing Germany and the winner of this year's World Cup final, Ludo Philippaerts from Belgium, and Michael Whitaker, who was the best of the British.
Whitaker, the only Briton through to the 13-horse jump-off, had the capacity crowd roaring their approval when he completed a swift clear round on the nine-year-old mare, Portofino. "I was quite early to go and I thought I'd probably be beaten, but I didn't think I'd be pushed down to fourth," Whitaker said. He was nevertheless delighted with the mare, who joined his string in July and looks set to become his top mount next year.
Though the spectators were rooting for the home rider, they could not fail to appreciate some wonderful rounds that followed in one of the best contests held here. Philippaerts, riding the grey stallion, Parco, had overtaken Whitaker before Weinberg set the place alight with some audacious turns.
"My horse is naturally quite fast and he's very cool in difficult situations, I knew he wouldn't panic," Weinberg said of the bay stallion. "He's probably the best horse I've ever had."
Weinberg had an anxious time, however, as she watched Ehning and the magnificent 17-year-old For Pleasure attempt to catch her time, only to fail by 0.28sec.
"For Pleasure can beat everyone, his problem today was me. I was too slow over the first two fences," Ehning said after finishing second. He plans next year to carry on riding the chestnut stallion because For Pleasure looks and feels much younger than his years.
Weinberg - whose brother, Bruce Dickinson, is lead singer with the rock group Iron Maiden - became the first woman to win this class since Veronique Whitaker triumphed in 1991. She has won the Grand Prix here before, but this was her first success in the World Cup class. The absent Marco Kutscher retains the lead for Germany on the Western European League of the World Cup, with Weinberg and Whitaker moving up into second and third places.
There was disappointment when two of Britain's leading contenders for yesterday's big class - Robert Smith on Marius Claudius and Nick Skelton on Arko III - dropped out with single errors in the opening round to be equal 14th. Four other Britons shared the same place: Paul Barker on Temple Croesus and Guy Williams on Loro Piana, who were competing in their first World Cup class, and Robert Whitaker on Qualite and William Funnell on Cortaflex Mondriaan.
Latest in Sport
Phil Neville and his fellow Match of the Day pundits given warning by the BBC after 'smash them' comment
Manchester United transfer news and rumours: David De Gea could leave for FREE; £38m for Marquinhos; £37m bid for Mats Hummels;
Transfer news LIVE: Manchester United to make £37m Mats Hummels bid; Inter plan Yaya Toure move; Shola Ameobi joins Crystal Palace
Liverpool transfer news and rumours: Mario Balotelli's agent speaks as Brendan Rodgers swoops for German duo
Andy Murray vs Tomas Berdych - LIVE! Australian Open semi-final latest as Murray wins after losing first set
- 3 Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...