Michael Whitaker may have been left out of the British showjumping team for the Olympics, but he stuck two fingers up to the selectors by winning the Rolex Grand Prix on the final day at Aachen, Germany.
Riding Beatrice Mertens’ GIG Amai, now fully recovered from the injury he suffered in Rotterdam last year, Michael jumped two careful clear rounds to qualify for the jump-off.
Only two other riders, both Germans – Thomas Voss and Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum – did the same. Thomas was first to go and was clear, but Michael rode a brilliant, clever round to shave four seconds off his time.
Meredith had the final slot, but hit one fence on her nine-year-old mare Bella Donna to take third.
“I’m so happy and so proud,” said GIG Amai’s owner, Beatrice. “He deserves the win, and he deserves an Olympic place.”
Read H&H’s full report from Aachen in Thursday’s magazine, on sale 12 July 2012