Firestone finds easier route to golden pay-out

Alison Firestone was rewarded with the winner-takes-all prize of £13,500 yesterday when she rode Arnica de la Barre to five clear rounds in the Kickon Masters at the Olympia Show Jumping Championships.

Alison Firestone was rewarded with the winner-takes-all prize of £13,500 yesterday when she rode Arnica de la Barre to five clear rounds in the Kickon Masters at the Olympia Show Jumping Championships.

This is the first time that the 23-year-old American has competed in this meeting. It was also her first win during a successful European tour, which began in Stuttgart in November, and included a second place in the Amsterdam Grand Prix. "It's been great experience riding against the best in the world, it really raises your standard," she said.

Di Lampard, who had the fastest time in the fifth and final round, which was decided against the clock, saw her chance of collecting the big prize diminish when Abbervail Dream hit the second part of the double, which was the last of the five fences.

She would still have won, however, if Firestone's eight-year-old mare had made a single error. "I was very lucky with the order of go," Firestone said, having been last to jump in the final round, which meant that she could concentrate on accuracy rather than speed. Next year Firestone will be aiming for April's World Cup final in Las Vegas, before trying to secure a place in the US Olympic team.

On Saturday, John Whitaker had once again displayed his formidable talent for getting fine performances out of veteran horses when he won the World Cup qualifier on 19-year-old Virtual Village Welham. Twelve months earlier he had won the same contest on Grannusch, then also 19, with a whirlwind round against the clock, which included one alarmingly tight turn.

Welham, the first of nine into the jump-off, was equally nippy. "The course suited him, he excels at turning back into fences," Whitaker said. Having taken the shortest possible route over the twisty first four fences, Whitaker maintained a smart pace without taking any undue risks. He then had to sit and wait while others did their utmost to catch him.

"It was quite nerve-racking watching the others, but there's nothing you can do about it," Whitaker said. Two riders came uncomfortably close - Carry Huis In'T, from the Netherlands, on Iceberg, and Switzerland's Beat Mandli, on Pozitano, finishing in an identical time just 0.23sec behind Whitaker to share second place. Geoff Billington finished fifth on Virtual Village It's Otto, after one refusal when taking a short turn into the third of the jump-off fences.

The venerable Welham has jumped in no more than "eight or nine" shows this year and, according to his rider, "the system seems to suit him".

Ludger Beerbaum, the former Olympic and European champion, described Whitaker's latest victory with an aged partner as "amazing". The distinguished German rider had failed to make the World Cup jump-off when his eight-year-old, Gold Fever, whom he now regards as his No 1 horse, made a single error in the opening round.

Yesterday Beerbaum rode his older partner, the 18-year-old PS Priamos, to win the Kickon Mistletoe Stakes and so thwart the high hopes of Britain's long-time leader, Tim Stockdale on Traxdata Glenwood Springs.

Like Firestone, Beerbaum acknowledged that he had the luck of the draw in going last. "I saw Tim jump and I knew where I could make up time," Beerbaum said. "He went round the white gate to the double at fence six, so I went inside." This ploy gave him victory by a 2.57sec margin on Priamos, who has won nearly £400,000 during the three and a half years he has been with Beerbaum and is due to retire soon.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?