A promising British-bred horse, ridden by both Michael Whitaker and his stable jockey Joe Clayton, has been sold to Ukraine.
Velini, a nine-year-old gelding owned and bred by Simon Davies, will now be ridden under the Ukrainian flag by Alexander Onischenko. The son of Cheers Cassini has been at Michael’s Nottinghamshire yard for two years and both Michael and Joe have enjoyed numerous placings with him.
“It was always Simon’s plan for us to produce him and then for him to be sold,” said Michael. “He’s always shown a lot of potential — he was green to start with but it all came together this year. I jumped clear with him round a big grand prix track in Barcelona last year, but Joe has had the best results with him.
“It is disappointing that he’s been sold, he’s got a lot of scope and ticked all the right boxes. Simon currently has his three-year-old full brother so I am hopeful of him coming my way.”
Joe and the gelding were members of the British team at the nations cup in Gijon in August. The pair produced a double clear and helped the side to joint second place with Ireland behind France.
Alexander, a Ukrainian billionaire, also purchased Calcourt Falkland from Michael’s yard earlier this year. The 10-year-old gelding has gone well for Alexander.
Michael has been adding exciting horsepower to his stable over the past couple of months. He has taken over the reins on HHS Flo, a 10-year-old mare previously ridden by Brazilian Yuri Mansur Guerios. He also now rides the eight-year-old Millioninmind, a former ride of Joe Clayton.
Topping Michael’s current stable stars is the 10-year-old stallion Cassionato — Michael’s partner at this year’s European Championships in Aachen. The pair helped the British team to Olympic qualification for Rio next year.