Mac makes it two in a row on eager Gringo

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The Independent Online
Emma-Jane Mac won the national women's title for the second time in succession (and the third overall) when she rode her long-standing partner, Gringo, to secure the Ladies' Championship. The 17-year-old gelding was the only horse to jump two clear rounds within the time allowed, defeating Lisa Murphy on Waysider and last year's runners-up, Di Lampard and Abbervail Dream.

Murphy, who has an artificial left leg, gets a remarkable tune from little Waysider, the former mount of Joe Turi. The horse left all the fences intact, but was marginally over the time in each round. Victory still seemed possible as the headstrong Gringo went charging into the last fence, before Mac's mount settled the issue with a confident leap for victory.

Next weekend Gringo will be jumping in the Dutch show at Eindhoven, where he won the derby two years ago. The old warrior has competed in virtually every type of contest, but Mac has not tackled the Silk Cut Derby at Hickstead with him. She has visions of Gringo taking charge on the approach to the 10ft 6in derby bank and leaping straight off the top of it.

Mac won last year on the mare Diamond, who has since had two operations - one on a chipped bone, the other to remove an ovary which had two tumours on it. It is hoped that the mare is now in foal to the stallion, Randi, who is ridden by John Whitaker.

Geoff Billington won the earlier Accumulator on Mancuso, a horse that he bought five years ago at the same time as his possible Olympic mount, It's Otto. Billington, now 41, has never had Olympic ambitions before but he will certainly be thinking of Atlanta when he rides It's Otto on the British team at Hickstead later this month. "I think my horse is that good, as long as I can cling on," he said.

ROYAL WINDSOR HORSE SHOW: Ladies' Championship: 1 Gringo (E-J Mac) clear, 53.51sec; 2 Waysider (L Murphy) 1.5 faults, 61.66; 3 Abbervail Dream (D Lampard) 4 faults, 45.09. Accumulator: 1 Mancuso (G Billington) 36pts, 43.01secs; 2 Harlem (G Williams) 36, 45.54; 3 Quick Star (N Skelton) 36, 45.57. Harrods International Driving Grand Prix (standings after dressage): Horse Teams: 1 G Bowman, 41.0 penalties; 2 P Thomas, 51.0; 3 R Margrave, 51.7. Pony teams: 1 G Frith, 42.7; 2 P Gammell, 50.0; 3 Duke of Edinburgh, 59.7. Hermes Dressage Grand Prix: 1 Enfant (V Thompson) 66.67%; 2 Mester Mouse (J Jackson) 65.53%; 3 Dikkiloo (K Mepham) 63.93%.