John Whitaker and Argento landed an amazing $260,000 (£170,000) winning double at the Longines Hong Kong Masters at the weekend (13-15 February).
The 59-year-old scored first in Saturday’s Gucci Gold Cup and followed up in the big one on Sunday, heading the prestigious Longines Grand Prix.
“You always come wishing for the best but I didn’t expect to win the two major classes,” said John. “Argento is on really good form. The past few months he’s been jumping exceptionally well. He obviously likes Hong Kong.”
In the grand prix, the Yorkshireman and the 13-year-old Arko III stallion Argento beat Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann (Gotha FRH) — winner of this class last year — by nearly 1sec to capture the $231,000 top prize.
“This stands up there with everything that I have done,” he said.
The runner-up Henrik added: “It was my fault — I didn’t get the jump-off as smooth as I should have. John was the better man.”
This was the third running of the event and attracted a world-class field of European showjumpers. But the British riders more than held their own, not least in the Gucci Gold Cup, where John led a top three of riders carrying the Union flag.
John and Argento again delivered a pacey double clear to beat 18-year-old Jessica Mendoza riding Spirit T, while world number one Scott Brash took third on Hello Annie.
“Jessica is very good and fast — hard to beat,” said John. “She was on my tail and had me a bit worried there for a while.”
Don’t miss the full report from the Longines Hong Kong Masters — plus a full round-up of all the week’s competitions — in next week’s issue of Horse & Hound (out Thursday, 19 February).