‘He’s been beating me all his life’: Michael trumps John in Whitaker GCT showdown

  • Michael Whitaker triumphed over brother John in a close-fought display of sibling rivalry on the world stage.

    Michael and Valmy took the CSI5* Trophée Casino de Monte-Carlo class, tenths of a second ahead of his brother, riding Argento, at the Monaco leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) on 29 June.

    “He’s been beating me all his life, but it’s nice to get one back!” joked Michael.

    “My horse is unbelievably careful, he’s a fighter — he’s got a little bit more experience to come but I’m excited about him.”

    The time allowed was especially tight, with the top three each picking up a time fault each in the jump-off.

    Michael finished 0.37 seconds ahead of John to win in a time of 36.04, with Ireland’s Michael Duffy and Egalini also posting a rapid round to finish third in a time of 36.6.

    “It’s a tough course, the ring is small which makes it more difficult as the jumps come quick,” said the Irishman.

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    Frank Rothenberger’s technical track proved influential — 10 of the 41 competitors finished on a zero score in the first round to go forward to the jump-off, with only the top three managing to keep all the fences up in the second round.

    World number one Harrie Smolders produced a smooth round with Corrada and looked likely to take the win, but clipped the final fence to finish seventh.

    Ireland’s Bertram Allen jumped a spotless first round aboard Hector Van D’Abdijhoeve, but picked up 16 faults in the jump-off.

    Robert Smith and Cimano E were clear in the first round, but a costly time fault ruled them out of the jump-off.

    The next leg of the LGCT takes place in Paris this week (5-7 July).

    In this week’s Horse & Hound magazine, out on Thursday 28 June 2018, don’t miss our full report from the Hickstead Derby meeting, including all the showjumping and showing action, plus don’t miss our six-page report from Royal Ascot.

    We also have a feature on the much discussed whip rules across the disciplines and in this week’s ‘Vet clinic’ we find out how to spot the signs of sand colic.

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