Method in Whitaker's Madness

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Michael Whitaker extended his marvellous record for the opening day of the German Nations Cup meeting in Aachen when he rode Everest Midnight Madness to win yesterday's Mercedes-Benz Preis, writes Genevieve Murphy from Aachen.

"He likes it here," Whitaker said. "The ground is always good and he can get into a nice rhythm and keep going." He did so to great effect yesterday, defeating the American rider Mark Leone, on Loro Piana Artos, by 2.32 seconds.

Third place went to John Whitaker, who jumped an impressive clear round on Everest Welham - the horse who completed a double clear for Britain's winning Nations Cup team at Hickstead last month.

This was Welham's first experience of the huge Aachen arena, but the English-bred gelding took it all in his stride. It seems increasingly probable that Whitaker will ride this horse in September's European Championships in Switzerland.

There were slower clear rounds in the Mercedes-Benz contest from two other British riders: Warren Clarke on Benjumin II and Geoff Billington on It's Otto. To complete an encouraging first-day performance for Britain, Nick Skelton jumped the fastest round of all on Everest Dollar Girl, who looked set for victory until removing a rail from the final double.