Robert Whitaker’s gave spectators at Olympia something to shout about in the KBIS Christmas pudding stakes.
A hard target set early on by Robert’s cousin Ellen Whitaker (Kanselier) was looking impossible to beat. But Robert, riding Mandy Hall’s Rusedski II, took jumped the eighth fence of this speed class on a much tighter angle than his rivals and choose a longer but smoother route to the next. The crowd screamed for him to push on to the final fence, which he rode in his typical determined style.
“I think that saved me about four seconds,” said Robert. “But he’s just mega. He can just turn, come back to me and then go off a stride so quickly.”
Ellen Whitaker secured her own victory by winning the Am Trust Pony Club mini-major relay riding CS Online. She was partnered by Cotswold Vale Farmers’ branch member Holly Jones on Swansea Jack II.
The show’s opening welcome speed stakes started the day’s domination by British riders when Geoff Luckett (Brickfield Boy) maintained their early lead throughout.
Listen to Geoff Luckett’s interview
However, in the final class, the Waverley TBS Christmas stakes, France’s Penelope Leprevost (Jubilee D’Ouilly) prevented a clean sweep for the home riders by beating Tim Gredley (Omelli) from final draw.
“Tim’s time was very good,” said Penelope. “But my horse is very quick.”
Stay in touch with all the action from Olympia on Horseandhound.co.uk throughout the show and don’t miss H&H’s show jumping reports in 25 December issue (on sale 23 December) and 1 January issue (on sale 2 January).