William Whitaker sprung into the international show jumping spotlight when he swept to victory with Arielle in the 2007/2008 Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping qualifier at Mechelen in Belgium (30 December, ’07).

This followed the 18-year-old’s recent success at Olympia, where he jumped 2.16m on Insul Tech Leonardo to win the Accenture Puissance (pictured right).

The latest star of the Whitaker clan beat the German veteran Alois Pollmann-Schweckhorst into second place with Lord Luis. Third was fellow German Max Kuhner riding Acantus.

The win leaves William lying fourth on the Western European League table and well in sight of a qualifying spot for the Gothenburg final in April.

William said: “I’ve been having a great run recently and this is the perfect end to the year — and just the right way to go into 2008!”

Ben Maher also enjoyed a successful visit to Mechelen, winning Saturday night’s grand prix with Rolette.

Mechelen World Cup qualifier results

1, Arielle (William Whitaker) GBR 0/0 41.28
2, Lord Luis (Alois Pollmann-Schweckhorst) Ger 0/0 41.74
3, Acantus (Max Kuhner) Ger 0/0 45.27
4, Piquer Calanda (Franz-Josef Dahlmann) Ger 0/8 42.68
5, Exquis Oliver Q (Harry Smolders) Ned 0/8 42.97
6, Tekila D (Pieter Devos) Bel 4/68.30
7, Finbarr V (Robert Whitaker) GBR 4/69.85
8, Bessemeind Casino (Marten Djupvik) Nor 4/70.55
9, Al Kaheel Spender S (Jos Lansink) Bel 4/70.57
10, Levisto Z (Judy-Ann Melchior) Bel 4/70.75

Rolex FEI World Cup jumping leaderboard

1. Jessica Kuerten – 59
2. Rutherford Latham – 48
3. Helena Lundback – 41
4. William Whitaker – 39
5. Albert Zoer, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum – 36
7. Rolf-Goran Bengtsson – 32
8. Ludger Beerbaum, Steve Guerdat – 31
10. Nick Skelton – 30
11. Malin Baryard-Johnsson – 28
12. Michel Hecart – 25
13. Michael Whitaker – 24
14. Heinrich-Hermann Engemann – 23
15. Harrie Smolders, Judy-Ann Melchior, Markus Fuchs – 22
18. Piet Raijmakers – 21
19. Daniel Deusser, Omar Bonomelli – 20
21. Luciana Diniz, Marco Kutscher – 19