Tag Archive: Robert Whitaker

  1. Robert Whitaker takes the speed class at Olympia

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    Robert Whitaker ensured British success on day one of showjumping action at Olympia’s London International Horse Show.

    Whitaker, riding USA Today, landed the Porsche Cayenne Challenge speed class after clocking a time of 50.25 seconds, which was enough to edge Will Funnell and Billy Angelo into second place, with Laura Renwick and Heliodor Hybis third.

    “I watched a good few go and saw some mistakes and worked out what I had to do,” Whitaker said.

    “USA is not the fastest, but he was fantastic in there. He’s 14 now, and he definitely likes the atmosphere. I’ve been coming here since I was a kid to watch my father, and to win here is always fantastic.”

    The opening Santa Stakes went to rising Italian star Emanuele Gaudiano, whose jump-off pace aboard Casper proved too much for a chasing pack led by Britain’s John Whitaker.

    Gaudiano clocked a time of 33.52 seconds, giving him a narrow victory over 60-year-old John Whitaker and Argento, with Olivier Robert and Quenelle du Ry third.

    And Thursday’s action was completed with the Alltech Christmas Puissance, which reached a thrilling climax when Belgium’s Jos Verlooy, riding Sunshine, finished tied with Germany’s Hilmar Meyer, on Continuo.

    It proved to be a top-class competition, with both riders maintaining immaculate performances through to the fourth jump-off, as they both cleared the wall at just above seven feet.

    Meyer first came to Olympia a couple of years ago as a groom. Now, on his first visit as a competitor, he is celebrating winning one of one of the most prestigious classes. His horse, the 13-year-old Continuo by Contendro, is a puissance specialist and has taken many classes in Europe.

    “I’m very proud of my horse,” said Meyer. “It’s an unbelievable feeling jumping that high, but only with the right horse. It’s been great to ride here at Olympia, it’s such a great atmosphere.”

    Unusually, Verlooy, 20, was using the class as a warm-up for the Longines FEI World Cup qualifier on Sunshine, a nine-year-old chestnut gelding.

    “I think that jumping a puissance can work well as a warm-up before a really big class,” he explained. “It was really exciting. I couldn’t believe how easily my horse jumped.”

    Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer, riding Leonard de la Ferme CH, Victoria Gulliksen (Grand Balou), daughter of Norwegian Olympian and perennial Olympia visitor Geir Gulliksen, Ireland’s Trevor Breen on the dual Hickstead Derby winner Loughnatousa WB and last year’s runner-up, Karline De Branander from Belgium on her gallant mare Fantomas de Muze, all crashed out in the fourth round when the wall was 2.10m (6ft 11in).

    Image: Robert Whitaker wins the Porsche Cayenne Challenge speed class at Olympia aboard USA Today, by Kit Houghton, courtesy of the London International Horse Show at Olympia

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  2. Robert Whitaker takes home another £7,260 at Bolesworth

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    British star Robert Whitaker continued his world-class form during day three of the Ashford Farm CSI**** Bolesworth International in Cheshire by winning another headline four-star competition on Saturday.

    The 32-year-old Yorkshireman followed up his victory with Catwalk IV in Friday’s 1.55m class by collecting his second successive £7,260 winner’s purse, landing the 1.45m jump-off, sponsored by Equerry Horse Feeds.

    With Catwalk taking a breather ahead of contesting Sunday’s Redrow Homes Grand Prix, Whitaker turned to the tried and tested 14-year-old bay stallion USA Today as his latest Bolesworth challenger.

    And he did not disappoint, clocking 38.49 seconds to conquer a tight, twisting jump-off course that generated mishaps for several of the 18 combinations that made it through round one.

    Irish contender Captain Michael Kelly finished second on Drumiller Lough, just 17 hundredths of a second behind Whitaker, with another Irish duo – Edward Doyle and Mullaghdrin Touch the Stars – third, just in front of Jade Burgess and Severly Hille.

    “The first round was quite tricky, but there were quite a few clears, and I had a good draw in the jump-off, which helped,” said Whitaker, whose run of recent successes will undoubtedly keep him firmly on the Great Britain selection radar ahead of the European Championships in Germany later this summer.

    “If you are first to go in a jump-off when there are so many clears, it’s difficult. It just worked out well for me, really.”

    Speed queen Laura Renwick, meanwhile, enjoyed another dash to glory with Beluga as one of showjumping’s most exciting combinations claimed a second win of this year’s Bolesworth spectacular.

    Essex-based Renwick won the show’s opening four-star class aboard the 14-year-old bay mare on Thursday morning in the International Arena. Saturday’s action saw them in the Castle Arena, and they triumphed again, taking the 1.35m speed class, sponsored by Equiline, in emphatic fashion.

    A time of 56.16 seconds saw them finish more than two seconds clear of a 32-strong field, with James Smith and Cumina taking second place, followed by Belgium’s Jos Verlooy in third on Clearwater 5 and Keith Shore fourth aboard Rubiroso JX.

    “She is so fast, and I know if I leave the jumps up she is going to be there or thereabouts. I am very lucky in that respect,” Renwick said.

    “She is not a slow horse, so she is always going to be in with a shout if the fences stay up.”

    And the highlight of Saturday’s two-star competitions saw Brazilian Marlon Modolo Zanotelli continue his impressive run by claiming a fourth Bolesworth win in three days. 

    Zanotelli, who is firmly on course to feature for Brazil’s showjumping team at the Rio Olympics next year, added the two-star 1.45metre grand prix, sponsored by Ashford Farm, to his impressive Bolesworth collection.

    The two-round class, followed by a jump-off, saw Zanotelli deliver the goods each time on Casper 297, culminating in them clocking 35.85 seconds to edge out Norway’s Johan-Sebastian Gulliksen on Charleville, while Belgian challenger Mike Van Olst took third spot aboard Top Top.

    Zanotelli, who collected £7,260 for his efforts on a horse owned by Bolesworth’s title sponsor Ashford Farm, had already won a six and seven-year-old class earlier on Saturday, which followed victories on Thursday and Friday.

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