Bolesworth International: Robert Whitaker shines on day two

By Charles Taylor on |



British star Robert Whitaker served further notice of his credentials for possible European Championship selection later this summer by delivering another high-class performance on day two of the Ashford Farm CSI**** Bolesworth International.

The 32-year-old Yorkshireman triumphed after a jump-off contested by 21 combinations from eight countries in the 1.55metre four-star class, sponsored by Cazenove Capital Management, collecting a £7,260 top prize.

“He will jump anything, really. There is never a course too big for him,” Whitaker said.

Whitaker won the same Bolesworth class last year on another of his leading rides USA Today, but this time it was Catwalk’s turn in the spotlight, and the 12-year-old gelding did not disappoint.

They conquered a testing jump-off track in 42.09 seconds, edging out Italian challenger Lorenzo De Luca and Geisha van Orshof by just six hundredths of a second, while American Laura Kraut finished third on Nouvelle, with Belgium’s Jos Verlooy fourth aboard Sunshine.

“He will jump anything, really. There is never a course too big for him,” Whitaker said.

“I didn’t really see anyone else go in the jump-off today. It was a case of you knew you had to do all the turns inside, and that really suited him.”

Irish star Shane Breen, meanwhile, maintained his 100% winning record on exciting prospect Acoustik Solo du Baloubet as Bolesworth’s Friday four-star action began with an exciting 1.45m speed class, sponsored by Gaskells Waste Management.

Breen was the sole rider to clock under 70 seconds on a horse he only started competing four weeks ago, with Bolesworth success following a victory at Pyecombe, near Brighton.

The horse is regularly ridden by West Country showjumper Anna Edwards, and Breen has no doubt about its potential.

“He hadn’t jumped a 1.45m before, so I thought I would try to do the turns and see how quick he could be,” said West Sussex-based Breen.

“He is just naturally very quick – there is that natural quickness about him. He makes a good jump, and you don’t feel like you are going as quickly as you end up going.”

Breen collected a winner’s purse of £2,310, with American Laura Kraut finishing second on Cavalia, while Mexico’s Alberto Michan Halbinger took third aboard Really LS La Silla and Britain’s Chloe Aston was fourth on Kolibri Classic.

There was overseas success in the four-star 1.35m two-phase competition, sponsored by Emmess Components, with Brazilian Marlon Modolo Zanotelli taking top spot on a different Cavalia in a time of 26.45 seconds, while James Smith finished second aboard Cumina.

And there was also plenty of action on Friday in the two-star classes, with Geoff Luckett and Canant taking the 1.25m two-phase, sponsored by Conwy Land Rover and Rybrook Jaguar, while Matthew Sampson guided Rhett Closbonhomme home in the AC Jackson Limited 1.35m jump-off competition.

Elsewhere, Scottish rider Declan Irvine won the 1.20m jump-off, sponsored by Watts Commercial Finance, with Keeford Carousel, and the 1.45m speed class, sponsored by Andrews Bowen, went to Alice Watson with Billy Lemon.

And the Ride-away Express Eventing Challenge – a fast-moving version of eventing’s three disciplines dressage, cross-country and showjumping – was won in emphatic fashion by Chinese Olympian Alex Hua Tian, riding Don Geniro.


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