John Whitaker offered a fascinating insight into the secret of his longevity after winning the H&M Ivy Stakes at Olympia’s London International Horse Show.
The five-time Olympian triumphed with 10-year-old mare Ornellaia, a horse that he has high hopes for in the Rio Olympics year.
They clocked a time of 36.32 seconds, which edged out reigning Olympic individual champion Steve Guerdat, riding Bianca. Holland’s Maikel van der Vleuten, meanwhile, was third aboard Cupido V.
“It’s nice to win at Olympia in front of your home crowd. I have had a great season, and it means a lot to win here,” Whitaker said.
“I have been around a long time. It has always been a good show for me, and I think it brings the best out of me.
“All the best riders in the world are here, so it really means something to beat them.
“The courses all week have been tough, but the standard is so high. You expect seven or eight clears, and you get 11 or 12.
“It’s the name of the game, and you have to keep up with those standards.
“It is so professional now. I am up every morning at half past six, schooling horses.
“You try to be really professional. When you are competing against the best riders in the world, it rubs off on each other and you keep upping your game.”