Whitaker is top rider at Olympia

  • A string of consistent performances by John Whitaker saw him take the leading rider of the show trophy at Olympia as the sell-out show came to an end yesterday.

    John pipped Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum to the top spot despite the German rider claiming the prestigious Olympia Grand Prix on the final night.

    Ten riders, including Robert Smith, John Whitaker, Tim Stockdale and Michael Whitaker, jumped clear in the first round of the grand prix, but Tim and Michael both clocked up a disappointing eight faults in the jump off.

    Jan Tops produce a safe clear round from second draw, but was immediately relegated from the top spot by John Whitaker and Lord Z, who shaved more than 3sec off Jan’s time to finish in 33.21sec.

    Meredith was the next to go clear from the centre of the jump off field and a stunning performance from Shutterfly left her more than 2sec ahead of John.

    Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat and Campus rose to the occasion and stopped the clock on 32.86, while Robert Smith and Kalusha went one better to take second place with 31.57.

    In the other classes on Monday, Helena Weinberg and her old favourite Silwa Little Gun took the Christmas Eve Six Bar, while Otto Becker held off strong performances by four British riders to win the Champagne Taittinger Farewell Speed Stakes.

    Keith Shore and Paul Barker won the final class of the show, the Karaoke Challenge fun relay competition.

  • Don’t miss Horse & Hound’s indepth report from Olympia in the 1 January issue.
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