Robert Whitaker delights the HOYS crowds with puissance win

  • Robert Whitaker is in unstoppable form at this year’s Horse of the Year Show. He claimed a further two classes on Saturday night, after winning two on Friday.

    His first victory on the penultimate day of the show came in the accumulator which he won from first draw with Mandy Hall’s Rusedski. The partnership also won Friday night’s Andrews Bowen classic.

    Robert later went on to win the puissance outright with another of Mandy Hall’s horses, Finbarr V, in just his third show in eight months. The gelding has been blighted by injury this season.

    “It was great to win outright,” said Robert. “His last round was fantastic.”

    After four rounds, just Robert and his cousin Ellen, riding Ladina B, remained in the class. To the thrill of the crowd, the pair decided to go head to head in a fifth round. Ellen faulted but Robert cleared the wall, which by this stage was 7ft 3in.

    “He really got stuck in and it was a pleasure to watch,” said Robert’s father John afterwards. “His last round was better than his first.”

    It was a day for the Whitakers as Robert’s uncle Michael took the day’s first international class, the Xerox Special Event Services cup with Fairviews Mirabelle D’Or.

    Dutch rider Jurgen Stenfert took the Bob Hurford memorial cup with his own BMC Naomie after a long gallop across the arena to the last fence.

    “She backs off naturally so I was able to take a stride out,” said Jurgen.

    Millie Allen claimed the 128cm championship with Matthews Girl. Millie’s older sister Pippa had claimed this title in 2005 with Silver Wonder, while this year’s Gear Gut UK Ltd 138cm final was won by Jessica Crosby on Fountain Ranger.

    Stay in touch with all the news from HOYS as it happens on Horseandhound.co.uk and don’t miss H&H’s special HOYS report issue, on sale Thursday 16 October

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