Former champion Robert Smith bounced back to form on the third day to top the British Open’s third qualifying leg on his Athens Olympic ride Mr Springfield.
The result put him in ninth on the leaderboard for Sunday’s final.
“I think last night cost me” said Robert, who had two fences down in the second leg on Ronaldo, “otherwise I’d have been in with a squeak.”
Coolly holding his nerve, Robert Whitaker used his penultimate draw to bring Rusedski into second and regain his lead on the Points Table with six points over his father John.
Extraordinarily, the leaderboard has five Whitakers in the top six: Robert, John, Michael and Ellen holding the first four while William is sixth. Ireland’s Shane Breen is the only rider preventing a total Whitaker whitewash.
Robert Smith tried for another win on Kalusha, but Eric Van Der Vleuten pipped him at the post on VDL Groep Owendel in the Zinc Management Stakes.
“She’s a fantastic speed horse and drawn late I knew what I had to do” said Eric.
William Whitaker repeated his Olympia feat and guided Insul Tech Leonardo to clear the 7ft 2in Puissance wall — and made it look easy.
“He’s jumping good” understated William, who has no particular plans for the Leandler son, “I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing, it’s worked so far.”
In his first time over the big wall, Cointreau Z cleared 7ft to take second place for Dale Burnham.
Robert Bevis and Geoff Luckett came head-to-head in the Knockout. Geoff passed the post first on Old Lodge Stud’s Brickfield Boy, but lowered a pole.
“The final turn caught me,” said Geoff, “and he’s tired. I won’t jump him on Sunday.”
Robert was thrilled with Ina Clutton’s Connery 9. “It’s not really his class but he’s laid back and doesn’t get fired up.”
Second in the previous day’s Indoor Cross Country Championship, Mark Kyle landed the Power and Speed Relay with William Whitaker’s help on his scopey new ride Loxley.
“There was only four names left in the draw when it came to my turn, but I certainly didn’t get the short straw” said Mark, whose veteran ride Drunken Disorderly belied his 18 years to gallop round the track and widen the winning margin by five secs.
ZINC MANAGEMENT STAKES
1. VDL Groep Owendel (Eric Van Der Vleuten) NED
2. Kalusha (Robert Smith) GBR
3. BMC Satisfaction (Jurgen Stenfert) NED
RED MILLS HORSE FEEDS INDOOR CROSS COUNTRY POWER AND SPEED
1. Drunken Disorderly (Mark Kyle) & (William Whitaker) 57.04
2. Market Focus (Bill Levett) & (Scott Brash) 61.92 (3)
3. Tribal Leader (Oliver Townend) & (William Funnell) 62.18 (3)
BRITISH OPEN SHOW JUMPING CHAMPIONSHIP COMPETITION 3
1. Mr Springfield (Robert Smith) GBR
2. Rusedski (Robert Whitaker) GBR
3. Pikap (Billy Twomey) IRE
BRITISH OPEN KNOCK-OUT
1. Connery 9 (Robert Bevis) GBR
2. Brickfield Boy (Geoff Luckett) GBR
3. Sonybanta (Paul Barker) GBR
3. BMC Vayom (Jurgen Stenfert) NED
BRITISH OPEN PUISSANCE
1. Insul Tech Leonardo (William Whitaker)
2. Cointreau Z (Dale Burham)
3. Finbarr V (Robert Whitaker)
BRITISH OPEN LEADERBOARD AFTER THREE COMPETITIONS
1. Robert Whitaker GBR 5.5
2. John Whitaker GBR 11.5
=3. Michael Whitaker GBR 12.0
=3. Ellen Whitaker GBR 12.0
5. Shane Breen IRE 13.0
6. William Whitaker GBR 13.5
8. Dirk Demeersman BEL 16.0
=9. Robert Smith GBR 16.5
=9. Billy Twomey IRE 16.5
11. Maikel Van Der Vleuten NED 18.5
=12. Jurgen Stenfert NED 20.0
=12. Jessica Kurten IRE 20.0
14. Geir Gulliksen NOR 20.5
15. Eric Van Der Vleuten NED 21.0
16. Linda Heed SWE 21.5
17. Heinrich Engemann GER 22.5
18. Helena Lundback SWE 23.5
19. Di Lampard GBR 24.5
20. William Funnell GBR 26.0