John Whitaker delighted the crowd by producing a flying round to win the Windsor Speed Stakes, the first major class of this year’s Royal Windsor Horse Show.

On perfect going in the show’s main Castle Arena, the Yorkshireman made the most of his penultimate draw to take the honours with Pauline Woodward’s Lactic II – the horse on whom he won two clases at the British Open Championship at Sheffield.

John cut 2.5sec off the time set by his brother Michael with his Leicester County grand prix winner, Abrisca, with local rider James Fisher just behind on Lily.

“Lactic’s got a big stride, so I was able to take a stride out between the second and third fences, and that’s what set us on our way,” said John. “The draw also helped, as I knew exactly what I had to do – and I only had my brother to beat, so it wasn’t too hard!”

Tom Stockdale (Fresh Direct Colato) and Duncan Inglis (Colorado Z) headed the qualifiers for Thursday’s Walwyn Novice Championship, which is often a good indicator for the young horse classes at the Royal International and Horse of the Year Show.