British teenager Jack Whitaker scored the first CSI5* win of his ascending career at the 2021 Dutch Masters this weekend.
Jack and the 11-year-old mare Scenletha topped the 1.55m Audi Prize on the second day of Indoor Brabant at s’Hertogenbosch (24 April) ahead of a world-class 41-strong line-up.
The 19-year-old said the win felt “fantastic” but “surreal” and that Scenletha could expect “plenty of Polos and pats”.
A total of 11 combinations made it through to the jump-off, with second to go Scott Brash and 11-year-old stallion Hello Vincent, owned by Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham, the first to jump double clear, setting the time to beat at 36.16 seconds.
Brazil’s Marlon Modolo Zanotelli (Grand Slam VDL) and Germany’s Christian Kukuk (Constantin 110) both left all the fences standing, but could not beat Scott.
But Jack and the Scenletha shaved 0.37 seconds off Scott’s time to take the lead. US rider Kent Farrington was last to go aboard Creedance, stopping the clock fractionally faster than Scott, but not fast enough to topple Jack from first place.
“It’s what everyone comes here to do, and it’s what I came here to do; but among some of these world-class riders it’s a bit surreal when you win, so I’m a bit stuck for words, to be honest – it’s fantastic!” Jack said.
“It’s my first five-star win, and it hasn’t sunk in. But as I say, it’s what you come here to do, and I knew it was just a case of when it was going to eventually happen, and it finally has.
“Scenletha is unbelievable, she’s such a nice horse. She’s so consistent and she’s got a lovely character, but she’s also feisty. Tonight she fought for me a bit, and I can’t thank her enough. She’ll get plenty of Polos and pats later.
“I’d just like to say thank you very much to the Young Riders Academy for putting me in this position, and for everything they’ve done so far. I just hope that they can continue supporting and helping young riders like me.”
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The Young Riders Academy is a programme for up-and-coming talented European showjumpers, helping to prepare them for professional careers in the sport through education and a placement at a top yard.
Jack has formed a strong partnership with the Scendrix x Contendra mare, owned by Michael Whitaker and Carl Hanley Sport Horses, over the last three years. They claimed first place in the under-24 grand prix in their first season together at Liverpool 2018 and have had numerous wins and top placings across the international circuit.
The final results were Kent in second with a time of 36.12 seconds, Scott third (31.16 seconds), with Marlon (37.37 seconds) and Christian (46.50) in fourth and fifth respectively. World number one Steve Guerdat was the fastest four-faulter in the jump-off to take sixth aboard Uranie de Belcour in 36.57 seconds.
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