Robert Smith and Tim Stockdale warmed up well for their forthcoming trip to the Rome Super League show by jumping the sole two double clears in Friday’s major class at Royal Windsor, the Martin Collins Grade A.

A tough enough track and a tight time-limit caused problems for the 29-strong field, but eight reached the jump-off. Tim set the standard from third draw on John Bosher’s mare Fresh Direct Corlato and only Robert could emulate him, finishing almost 5sec quicker with Sharon Baldwin’s stallion Vangelis S to capture the £1,300 prize.

Robert is now considering Vangelis as a possible European Championship ride. “He’s got an enormous jump and just needs the mileage,” said Robert.

The two earlier classes belonged to the irrepressible Robert Whitaker. He headed a strong B and C class on his mother Claire’s scopey mare, Azucar, and then beat his father in the 1.40m open.

John rode a great jump-off round on the coloured stallion Utah Van Erpekom, but his son conjured some incredible turns from the huge Finbarr to take the £350 prize by a comfortable margin.