Skelton through, Beijing champion Lamaze out

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Nick Skelton, who led Great Britain to team jumping gold on Monday, was one of only six riders to go clear in the first round of Wednesday’s Olympic individual show jumping final.
The 54-year-old put up another faultless performance on Big Star to go joint top of the standings at the midway point in the Olympics equestrian competition.
“I have just got to keep going and I mustn’t mess it up.
“Big Star is fresh and well. I just have to keep cool,” said Skelton, who is competing at his sixth Games despite being advised by doctors to give up riding in 2000 after he broke the C1 vertebrae in his neck in two places.
The 2012 hosts, who have already picked up two golds and a silver at Greenwich Park, are trying to capture the individual jumping title for the first time in their history.
Skelton’s foot-perfect display was matched by fellow Britain team winner Scott Brash, Ireland’s Cian O’Connor, Marcus Ehning of Germany, French rider Olivier Guillon and Steve Guerdat from Switzerland.
O’Connor won the title in Athens in 2004 only to be later disqualified after his horse tested positive for a prohibited substance.
He gained an eleventh-hour ticket to the Olympics, replacing Denis Lynch who had initially been selected but was ruled out when his horse failed a hypersensitivity test.
The top 20 riders from the first leg go through to the final round later Wednesday.
Figuring in that list was Ian Millar, the 65-year-old Canadian who is appearing at a record tenth Olympics.
The previous benchmark of nine Games was held by Austrian sailor Hubert Raudaschl.
Notable names who failed to make the cut were Canada’s defending champion Eric Lamaze, who picked up 12 faults on Derly Chin de Muze, and France’s European champion Kevin Staut, who picked up 18 faults in an error-strewn display on Silvana.