After a tremendous jump-off in the final at Sheffield’s Hallam FM arena, local rider Robert Whitaker became the first British Open Show Jumping Champion.
The 20-year-old showed maturity beyond his years to partner the stallion Quinten and beat a tremendous standard from Norwegian riderGeir Gulliksen on Lord II Z.
Robert, who took home his biggest ever prize of £25,000, was totally overcome after receiving a standing ovation from an excited audience.
“I can’t believe it,” he said. “My horse did it all – he was fantastic.”
With points accumulated during the week, second place was shared by Markus Fuchs, Billy Twomey and Robert’s uncle, Michael Whitaker, who each pocketed £10,000.
There was a real party atmosphere during the final day, although things did get serious in the Home International Challenge. It was nip and tuck all the way, but the honours went to the English team of Corinne Collins, Ellen Whitaker, Stuart Neads and Graham Fletcher who jumped the winning clear on Laura’s Choice.
Tim Stockdale had a disappointing show by his standards, although he finally came good in the £2,000-to-the-winner British Speed Classic, where he and Fresh Direct Glenwood Springs managed to reduce the seemingly unbeatable target set byMichael Whitaker on Haddon House Carlson.
“Glenwood Springs is 15 years old now and he feels as good as ever,” said Tim.
The other class was an exciting knockout, which produced some close finishes. Speed specialist Keith Shore eventual won by a whisker on Pakko from New Zealander Grand Cashmore and the promising young Lord Rudi, a horse by John Whitaker’s ride, Lord Z.
The show was well supported over the weekend by both riders and spectators and organiser Grandstand Event Management has signed a three-year contract, with an option to continue for a further two years.
Eurosport will be showing televised highlights from the British Open Show Jumping Championships on Wednesday 7 May at 8.30pm. The programme will be repeated on Friday 9 May at 7.30am.