Spartacus takes Cassan back to the top

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The Independent Online
Tina Cassan may be on her way back to the top level of show jumping, thanks to Spartacus and Finchpalm Fujiyama, with whom she finished first and third in yesterday's SGC National Grade C Championship on the opening day of The Horse of the Year Show.

The two eight-year-olds are "without any doubt" the best two mounts Cassan has ridden since Genesis was sold in 1993, following the death of his owner, Fred Brown. Cassan gained the first of her two Queen's Cup victories on Genesis in 1992 and after the horse was sold abroad, she was left to bring on novices. Yesterday's two arrived in her yard in January and she finds it impossible to say which of them is the more talented.

Mark Armstrong, who finished second on six-year-old Iwan, has been in much the same situation since Corella died from colic in 1993, the year he won a team silver medal in the European Championships. Armstrong, who dislocated his shoulder three weeks ago, is equally positive that Iwan is the best horse he has ridden since the loss of his top mount.

Emma Edwards gained her first Wembley win when she rode her mare, Woodlands Clover, to win the earlier Toggi Wager which was decided on time. Edwards, now 20, has been placed three times in the National Under-21 Championship here, finishing third in 1993 and second for the last two years - on each occasion with the same mare, who stands just 15 hands high.

Edwards had been up all the previous night at her stables nursing a horse that almost died through colic. It was reported to be on the mend by the time she jumped the winning round.

Having been third of the 61 horses to jump, Edwards had not expected to retain the lead. Nor had Sarah Marshall, who was third into the jump- off for the Squibb and Davies Junior Foxhunter Championship which she won on Miami Blaze.

This was the first Wembley contest for 14-year-old Sarah, and although she found it quite daunting, she jumped two stylish clear rounds. She is trained by Steven Smith (now based with his brother, Robert, in Essex) and he was the one who told her to "go for it".

The Marshalls, a "one-pony family", had borrowed a horsebox to bring Miami Blaze here and the eight-year-old chestnut mare later finished third in the Junior Newcomers Championship, which was won by Mary Moss on Portsunlight.