Although the international show jumping honours went to Europe on the Saturday of this year’s Royal International, Britain was given hope for the future through the performances of some young stars.
Two 19-year-olds — Tim Gredley and Ellen Whitaker — and 22-year-old Robert Whitaker were among the eight who made the jump-off over a tough course for the Longines Classic.
An entertaining finale ensued, with the lead changing hands at double quick time. Ellen led from fourth draw on AK Kanselier, but she was overtaken by an unhurried-looking round from Swizerland’s Beat Mandli on Ideo Du Thot.
Belgian Philippe Le Jeune became the new leader with Kingchem and Robert Whitaker conjured a fabulous round from his Great Yorkshire champion, the eight-year-old stallion Ublesco, who moved into second place.
But they all had to give best to Wout-Jan Van Der Schans, whose great round on the mare Nouvelle broke the beam almost 1sec ahead. Wout-Jan is a former eventer who represented the Netherlands at World Championship level. He has since been a regular on show jumping teams and has high hopes for Nouvelle, a daughter of the dressage sire Tango.
“She’s fast and also careful,” he said.
Philippe Le Jeune again had to settle for second place — this time on Tymoon Caloo in the Sky Sports Speed Classic. Swiss rider Pius Schwizer produced a fantastic winning round on his versatile Coolman V, a horse as happy over Nations Cup course as Derbys. Guy Williams was the best of the Brits in third on Be Precise.