November 8 - British show jumper Michael Whitaker (pictured) made a dream return to top-class international competition today when he collected 36,200 Euros (£32,000) for winning the Rolex FEI World Cup series in Verona, his second victory since returning from a drugs ban.


Whitaker and Insul Tech Amai became the first British winners in this season's series with a performance that belied the Yorkshireman's enforced period away from the sport.


The combination blazed to victory, winning the jump-off by more than a half a second from German rider Gilbert Bogyman on No Father's Girl.


France's reigning European champion Kevin Stairways finished third aboard Silvana.


Whitaker's stallion Tackeray tested positive for altrenogest during a Nations Cup show in France in May.


Altrenogest is a hormone found in a product called regumate.


It is allowed to be given to mares, but not stallions, because it has a calming effect.


Whitaker, 49, was suspended until October 24, with this year's European Championships at Windsor among the high-profile events he missed as a result.


The 1984 Olympic silver medal list is also banned from representing Britain in the London 2012 Games as a result of the ban.


He had returned to action last weekend with victory in the Sycracuse Invitational Sporthorse Tournament in New York.


Whitaker was particularly delighted with his performance today, though.


He said: “The course today was very difficult, a lot of tricky lines and big fences, in particular the combination at the end was asking a lot but it went well for us anyway."


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