Vinoski jumps clear to claim narrow but overdue victory

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The Independent Online

Kimberly Vinoski, who came so close to winning the Blenheim Petplan International Horse Trials two years ago, returned to the Oxfordshire venue to win the event by a one-point margin yesterday on Linda Wachtmeister's eight-year-old Winsome Adante. The United States rider defeated New Zealand's Andrew Nicholson and Britain's Polly Stockton.

When Vinoski rode Over the Limit to be runner-up to Franck Bourny here in 1999, she had finished on the same score as the Frenchman but had to take the lower place through being faster across country and thereby further away from the optimum time. Yesterday, however, she was thinking of another near miss last year at Lexington in Kentucky, where she was in the lead after the cross-country but dropped to fourth after having one show jumping rail down.

Earlier this year Vinoski spent five weeks with the American trainer George Morris working on her show jumping. "I owe a lot to him," she said, after jumping the clear round that gave her victory.

Nicholson, who was also clear, had not only been runner-up two weekends in succession, this was "about the fourth time" he has been second here. "The horse went very well," the New Zealander said of Ramon Beca's nine-year-old Fenicio.

Pippa Funnell had been lying second overnight on the impressive Primmore's Pride, but an expensive rail down in the show jumping dropped her to fourth place. Polly Stockton therefore moved up to third – and became best of the British – after jumping clear on the big eight-year-old Tangleman.

Stockton's other mount, Word for Word, was withdrawn after the dressage when he was found to have a sore back. He will now be aimed at Bonn-Rodderburg in Germany later this month. Both William Fox-Pitt's mount, River Dragon, and Mary King's King Richard were withdrawn before the show jumping, when they were lying sixth and seventh respectively.

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