Equestrianism: Renwick's Cup win puts women in limelight

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Laura Renwick riding Limelight de Breve, proved a popular and fitting winner of The Old Lodge Queen Elizabeth II Cup here yesterday.

Renwick was elated. "It's brilliant, like a dream," she said. "There are certain things in British show jumping you long to win. It's special to do it on this mare, too, as we have come all the way together."

From 1949 until last year, "The Cup"was an international championship contested by women riders. It was then opened up to the top 25 male and female riders on the British Show Jumping Association's International Trial list, and Ireland's Shane Breen, riding Carmena Z, became the first male winner. Breen was again in contention on the same horse, one of seven clear rounds to qualify for the jump-off. Based at Hickstead, he was a favourite but Renwick, 34, outnumbered 6 to 1 by the men, was faster than all of them.

When asked if being the only female in the jump-off spurred her on, she denied being aware of this, saying: "I just concentrated on doing my own thing. It's even better knowing that." However, she did lament that this class has broken from its long tradition, no longer a unique title for the best female riders of the world.

Peter Charles proved the main danger, just 0.62sec behind on Murkas Rupert R, putting behind them a disappointing result in Friday's Nations Cup when Britain was 7th of the 10 teams.

Comparatively inexperienced riders at this level, Anthony Condon with Cruisings Mickey Finn, and Phillip Miller riding Caritiar Z both made spirited efforts, clear but slightly slower for third and fourth.

William Funnell also impressed on his young stallion Billy Congo, with another double clear to finish 5th, ahead of Breen, who faulted once, and Nick Skelton on Transmission, with two mistakes including a refusal.

In the first round, Ellen Whitaker failed to clear the water on CS Online then lowered a pole, to drop out of contention.

Earlier, riding Equimax Ocolado, she demonstrated her star quality by jumping the only double clear rounds to win the Bunn Leisure Salver, ahead of the older and more experienced internationals, Skelton, Geoff Luckett and Funnell.