Welcome to the next generation of Skeltons and Whitakers: ‘We have a Nations Cup team now!’

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  • Two famous equestrian families have welcomed new arrivals, with showjumper Joe Whitaker and his wife Fiona celebrating the birth of baby Bonnie, while husband-and-wife jockeys Harry Skelton and Bridget Andrews have welcomed baby Rory to the world.

    For Joe and Fiona, this is baby number four. Bonnie Whitaker was born at home on Sunday, 28 April at 9.16am, with Joe saying “Our hearts are so full”.

    She is a little sister for Sophia, Stevie Joe and Emily Rose, and the latest addition to the famous Whitaker dynasty.

    “Everyone’s doing well and she’s settling in nicely,” Joe told H&H. “She’s sleeping well, doing three hours in between feeds, so that’s great – she’s a little cracker, we’re absolutely smitten.

    “I think she’s going to be a little rider – there are three or four ponies waiting for her when she’s ready and her brother and sisters are getting them revved up for her!

    “They’re all smitten with her, too – all three of them are fighting for kisses and cuddles with their baby sister at the moment.”

    While Joe – who is the son of Steven and Carole Whitaker, brother to Ellen, Thomas and Donald Whitaker – and Fiona’s first daughter Sophia was born in hospital, the following three have all been born at home, with Joe actually delivering baby number two, Stevie Joe, himself.

    “Fiona was definitely a bit more relaxed having the midwife this time!” said Joe, revealing that Bonnie weighed in at 9lb 10oz, much to the surprise of him and his wife. “She was big! Fiona did amazing in the labour – she had a couple of very good midwives with her, who kept her relaxed and positive, which made such a difference.

    “Fiona’s an incredibly strong woman.”

    So can we expect a baby number five to add to the Whitaker family clan?

    “Never say never but I think that’s it – we’ve got a Nations Cup team, that’s all we need! We just need to get some horses now,” he said.

    Bridget and Harry Skelton: a baby boy

    The day before, Saturday 27 April, Rory Skelton made his appearance at 5.10am weighing 8lb 13oz, a first child for jockeys Bridget and Harry Skelton and a second grandchild for Harry’s father 2016 Olympic showjumping champion Nick Skelton.

    Rory’s early morning arrival meant Harry could hotfoot it down to Sandown Park for four rides in the crucial season finale to the jumps season, where his brother Dan Skelton was vying for the trainers’ championship with history-making Willie Mullins.

    “Once Bridget and Rory were doing well, I went down to Sandown and her mum came up and spent the day with her and they watched the racing,” Harry told H&H. “There were no winners unfortunately, but Rory’s settling in at home now and Bridget’s doing really well so I couldn’t be prouder of the two of them.

    “I’ve changed lots of nappies already – you get plenty of practice, pretty quickly!”

    With the sport of Kings clearly in his genes, Rory has already enjoyed his first racing experience, with the new family visiting their local Mollington point-to-point in Warwickshire.

    “He had a good day out there,” said Harry. “He’s a bit off getting a pony yet, but he’s had lots of lovely presents from a lot of people, so I’d like to thank everyone for their good wishes.”

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