William Whitaker’s Tokyo hopes dashed after losing his top horses *H&H Plus*

  • William told Horse & Hound that the decision came as a ‘surprise’ and that he is looking for new owners...

    One of Great Britain’s leading showjumpers, William Whitaker, has lost the ride on several of his top horses after parting company with his owners Rushy Marsh Farm LLC.

     In a statement released today (29 January), William said: “My co-operation with Rushy Marsh Farm (RMF) has come to an end. I would like to thank RMF, the Stormanns family, the grooms — Benoit Lecomte, Benoit Tichit and Arthur Anty  — and further support staff that helped me throughout the year in the US and in Germany.“I look forward to the next chapter in my career and to building up a strong team of horses, owners and partners to set a solid foundation for the future and ultimately continuing the goal of competing at the highest level of our sport and pushing for Championship and Olympic medals with Team GB. I will be based back in the UK with my family.”William told H&H: “It came as a surprise as the horses had been in such good form, but it was a great opportunity to ride them.”William began his association with Rushy Marsh Farm, owned by Frank and Monica McCourt, in January last year, splitting his time between bases in Germany and USA.

    As one of the stable’s riders, he took the reins on a string of seven top class horses, including the 12-year-old RMF Cadeau De Muze, the 11-year-old stallion RMF Chacco Top — a CSI5* winner at Olympia and Miami — his HOYS speed horse of the year title-holder RMF Echo and William’s dual puissance winner at Olympia and Liverpool, RMF Charly.

    William was also a core member of the McCourt-sponsored Miami Celtics team during the 2019 season of the Global Champions League (GCL).

    International businessman Frank McCourt was the co-founder of the GCL and had been a major shareholder with Jan Tops in the Longines Global Champions Tour until this month, when it was announced that global investment holding company Tennor, founded by German entrepreneur Lars Windhorst, would be coming in to take over the shareholding of McCourt Global.

    “Partnering with Jan over the past six years to build the innovative and successful GCL and to grow the geographic footprint of the Longines Global Champions Tour has been exciting,” said Frank H McCourt Jr.

    “Great value has been created and I am confident that both the league and the tour are positioned for continued success. I wish Jan and Lars the best in years to come.”

    William has returned home to Yorkshire, where his wife Elisabeth and three children have been based during his stints in Germany and USA during the past 12 months. He has plans to continue running the yard with his brother James Whitaker.

    “I’m back at the family farm alongside my brother James and will be taking this opportunity to continue to produce the horses we currently have — as well as building a new string, ideally with the help of some new owners,” William told H&H.

    H&H has contacted Helena Stormanns, who works for Graham and Monica McCourt and manages the RMF horses, for a comment.

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