‘They could have put the jumps up even higher’: John Whitaker’s winning streak continues to London six-bar

  • A day after showing the “young speed merchants” how to win a jump-off and claim top honours in Sunday’s Santa Stakes at the London International Horse Show, the mighty John Whitaker posted a masterclass in gymnastic high jumping to claim Monday’s six-bar with the same horse, Sharid.

    Once again, the 68-year-old Yorkshireman was cheered home by an enthusiastic crowd, thrilled to witness their home hero back in the winner’s enclosure for the second time in as many days.

    In October, John and Sharid had won the six-bar at Horse of the Year Show, sharing top honours with Shane Breen, and the duo followed up in London, winning Monday afternoon’s class outright with a superb display of high jumping from both horse and rider. Only three of the 17 starters made it through to the fourth round, and it was in the fifth and final round, where the final vertical towered to 1.90m, when the Yorkshireman’s rivals Duarte Seabra of Portugal riding Fernhill Balou Beau and Swiss rider Adrian Schmid with Deva V Schloesslihof both faulted, crowning John and Sharid as the outright winners.

    “He’s done a couple of really good six-bars,” reflected John. “The second round today wasn’t the best, we were a bit lucky there, but I felt like I went in too fast. So I concentrated a bit more on my approach to the line of fences and came quite slow into it and those last two rounds he was amazing. He could have gone again – they could have put the jumps up even more and he’d have jumped them. He was just enjoying it all and listening.

    “He’s always fresh and after going fast in the jump-off yesterday, it wasn’t the ideal build up for a six-bar. But that made it an even better win. It’s great to have two wins here in London, especially the way he did it. Six-bars are great to watch but they can go a bit wrong if nobody jumps it in the last round, so the way it finished with Sharid jumping clear, was perfect.”

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