The Northern Ireland International Horse Show saw a fantastic £10,000 victory for Laura Kraut’s 16-year-old Anthem in the Equestrian Sportsman Grand Prix finale at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast (25-28 October).
Michael Whitaker (pictured) finished a close second with his new eight-year-old mare Wonamia Van Den Aard, while Switzerland’s Hansueli Sprunger (Ilton Daye) was third, ahead of John Whitaker and the 10-year-old skewbald Utah Van Erpekom.
Nick Skelton recorded the first British success by bringing Russel home ahead of the Netherlands’ Jurgen Stenfert and BMC’s Naomie in the opening day’s Swift Hire Welcome Stakes.
British riders dominated Friday’s classes. Robert Whitaker steered Karina home to win the North South Language Body International Stakes over his uncle, Michael Whitaker, with Lady Des Hayettes.
The evening’s feature class, the WKD International, was a triumph for Nick Skelton with Arko. Dutchman Gerald Geesink, 24, claimed runner-up spot just 1sec off the winning time.
Britain’s Ben Maher, also 24, claimed third with the promising young mare Rolette.
Youth had its revenge in the Irish Horse Board Top Score event when 22-year-old Australian Matt Williams kept the seniors at bay with a great round from Leconte.
Saturday’s Irish Horse Board International was won by Ireland’s Conor Swail and Gold Digger, while the WKD Speed Grand Prix went to Cian O’Connor riding his new mare Faulein Semila.
Saturday’s highlight was the Lagan Puissance, which was won by Shane Breen on Lyssegan Clover Diamond, clearing 7ft 2in.
On Sunday afternoon Tim Stockdale steered Lou Lou into pole position in the SHS Group Stakes.
It was a British whitewash in the final evening’s Northern Ireland Events Speed Stakes when Michael Whitaker and Lady Des Hayettes stormed in ahead of Ben Maher (Akosie Du Wonderland) and William Funnell (Cortaflex Amber Du Montois).
Read H&H’s full four-page report from Belfast in tomorrow’s Horse & Hound (1 November, ’07)