Pole position for Michael Whitaker

  • Consistency is beginning to pay off for Michael Whitaker, who headed the British Open points table after the second day’s jumping at Sheffield’s Hallam FM Arena.

    Although he is yet to win a class, he has had plenty of clear rounds and good placings on his horses to give him a 12-point lead over Swiss star MarcusFuchs, with Ireland’s Billy Twomey close behind.

    Keith Shore bounced back from a frustrating first day to win Friday’s major class, the Sheffield Masters. A well-planned jump-off route put him and Magic Max almost 1 second ahead of Di Lampard’s smooth round on Abbervail Dream.

    “Max was too fresh yesterday, but I’ve given him loads of work to take the edge off him,” said the man from Cheshire, who has already been chosen for a forthcoming Nations Cup team.

    The early accumulator went to Germany’s Hauke Luther on Nicky Bailey- Gibson’s eight-year-old Cajano. Hauke, who loves the British show jumping scene and visits as often as he can, finished just ahead of early leader John Whitaker onLord Z.

    John’s son, Robert, scored his second victory of the show in the Squibb & Davies Speed Classic, which offered prize-money instead of points towards the championship. A superb round on Liz Hunt’s mare, Karina, was good enough to hold off every challenger and provedpopular with the enthusiastic crowd.

    The Home International Challenge, in which riders from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales compete for their countries, opened with an individual competition. This was won by Staffordshire-based ScotsmanDerek Morton on the home-bred Chain Reaction, who finished almost 3 seconds clear of Welsh rider Gemma Cranton on Carantina.

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