Sutton speeds to victory

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The Independent Online
Paul Sutton and his consistent grey gelding, Wessex Zakatak, took their first victory of the year in winning yesterday's Grand Prix on the closing day of the Richmond Horse Show. Sutton received some help when the stallion, Everest Elton, ridden by Michael Whitaker, clobbered the final fence while recording the fastest time of the jump-off.

The Dutch-born Rob Hoekstra, who has been based in England for some years, rode good clear rounds on both his mounts to finish second on Collette and third on Belinda, with Whitaker taking fourth place on Elton.

The Whitaker brothers have just returned from Hamburg, where Hugo Simon of Austria won the derby. They were tuning their horses up for this week's Nations Cup meeting at Hickstead, and although John Whitaker had a single mistake with both Roddy's Revenge and Randi in the first round, it looked to be a satisfactory warm-up.

Both Whitakers are part of the British squad for Hickstead, where they will be joined by Geoff Billington, Emma-Jane Mac and William Funnell. Michael had intended to return to Germany after Friday's Grand Prix, but he has now agreed to remain for Sunday's Nations Cup if he is one of the four riders chosen for the British team.

Funnell, who won the Eindhoven Derby in the Netherlands on Sunday, was a late addition to the British squad yesterday. He replaces Di Lampard, who has had to withdraw the Queen's Cup winner, Abbervail Dream, because the horse has a bruised sole.

Both the Hickstead Grand Prix and Nations Cup have found a last-minute sponsor in ENZA New Zealand, who market premium apples.

RICHMOND HORSE SHOW (Richmond, Surrey) Grand Prix: 1 Wessex Zakatak (P Sutton) clear, 41.74sec; 2 Collette (R Hoekstra) clear, 42.61; 3 Belinda (R Hoekstra) clear, 44.96. Riding Horse Championship: Orlando (V Smith); Reserve: Kingfisher (A Hood). Cob Championship: Tom Cobbley (C Scott); Reserve: Charlie Brown (R Christie).

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