Michael Whitaker enjoyed a “super Saturday” at the Kingsland Oslo Horse Show scooping the five-star grand prix (18 October, 2014).
The British showjumper took on 20 rivals in the jump-off partnered by his number one ride Viking.
The 12-year-old chestnut had suffered a slight loss of form since the Rome Nations Cup show, but he was back on top form over Ulliano Vezzani’s course.
After a daring round in which he took every short-cut, the Nottinghamshire-based Yorkshireman defeated long-time Dutch leader Jur Vrieling (Flashdance V Kalevallei) by just 0.02sec. Swiss Olympic Champion Steve Guerdat was close behind on Albfuhrens Paille.
“Viking was back where he should be today,” said Michael, who had watched his stable jockey Joe Clayton win the two-star grand prix earlier that day on his nine-year-old Baloubet Du Rouet mare, Balibou.
“This is my first time in Oslo, but I’ve always wanted to ride here after watching the show on TV,” said Joe.
Balibou’s win was the culmination of careful planning.
“The first day was about qualifying, the second day was about having a good round and today was all about winning,” said Joe, who was first to go in the five-horse jump-off.
He went for it, had a fence down in a fast time and had to sit and suffer while all his rivals chased the time and also faulted.
“I went as fast as I could, but it was a long wait,” he said.
Still on a high from this triumph, Joe went on to finish third in a hotly contested puissance on Noctambule Courcelle.
Read the full report from Oslo in next week’s Horse & Hound (23 October)