Equestrianism: Whitaker pays price for single fence error

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The Independent Online

Eric van der Vleuten gained his fourth win of the London International Horse Show when he rode his brilliant speed mare Audi's Owendale to win yesterday's Bic Select Farewell Speed Stakes. The Dutchman defeated Germany's former world champion Franke Sloothaak and another Dutch rider, Angelique Hoorn.

John Whitaker, who was best of the British in fourth may have finished second but for incurring a penalty of two seconds for one fence down, while his niece Ellen Whitaker, who finished seventh, may have won if she had not added four seconds to her time for two errors.

Van der Vleuten, who achieved two second places as well as his four wins, is unlikely to contest April's World Cup final in Las Vegas although August's European Championships could be a possibility. Germany's Marco Kutscher and Austria's Julia Kayser elected to share first place rather than jump another round in the earlier Christmas Eve Six Bar.