Equestrianism: Whitaker goes closer to World Cup final success

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The Independent Online

Michael Whitaker, who has twice been third in the World Cup final for show jumping, got a place closer when he was runner-up on Sunday night in Las Vegas.

Michael Whitaker, who has twice been third in the World Cup final for show jumping, got a place closer when he was runner-up on Sunday night in Las Vegas.

Having won the third and final leg of the contest on Portofino the British rider piled on the pressure for Germany's Meredith Michaels Beerbaum, the leader of the world rankings. After one error in the first round on Sunday with Shutterfly, she knew that a single dropped pole on the second course would hand victory to Whitaker. But she kept her cool to become the first woman to triumph since 1987.

"I'm very pleased with the way she [Portofino] has jumped, she's only had one fence down the whole time," said Whitaker of his mare.

Nick Skelton and Arko III were two faults behind Whitaker coming into the final round. But the stallion then ducked out at the second part of the double, depositing Skelton on the ground for elimination.

World Cup Final (Las Vegas, US): Show jumping final (with total scores after three legs): 1 Shutterfly (M Michaels Beerbaum, Ger) 4 faults; 2 Portofino (M Whitaker, GB) 7; 3= Gitania (M Ehning, Ger), Lucie (L Nieberg, Ger) 9; 5 Marlou (K Frey, US) 10; 6 Isovlas Pialotta (S Guerdat, Swit) 11; 7 Baloubet du Rouet (R Pessoa, Br) 12; 8 Cash (M Kutscher, Ger) 15. Other GB: 19 Laguina (R Davenport) 31; 22 Arko III (N Skelton) eliminated for fall in final round.

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