Whitaker third in Speed Stakes

  • Britain’s Michael Whitaker finished third in the Farewell Speed Stakes at Olympia this afternoon. Whitaker and Merva des Hayettes jumped a scorching round to finish less than a second behind runner-up Harrie Smolders from the Netherlands.

    But the £4,000 first prize went to Germany’s Heinrich-Hermann Engemann, winner of Thursday’s Welcome Speed Stakes. Engemann jumped an unbeatable round on Candela NRW, finishing clear in 45.22sec.

    The Farewell Speed Stakes is a nail-biting test of speed and agility. Each of the 22 competitors entered their quickest horses. “Candela NRW is my favourite for speed,” confirmed Engemann.

    The line-up included many celebrated riders and some of show jumping’s top young talents. Britain’s Robert Whitaker jumped an exceptional round on Karina but an unfortunate knocked pole pushed him down to fifth position. Norway’s Tony Andre Hansen, who has recently released a successful pop album, finished seventh on Ecu de Mieukestelt.

    But the older masters outshone the young pretenders. Whitaker, Smolders and Engemann made tighter turns and risked sharper lines, leaving the audience on the edge of their seats.

    Engemann’s win marks his 130th victory. The German has never jumped at Olympia before and is delighted with his results. “When you’re show jumping at a top level you have got to go to Olympia,” he said afterwards. But Engemann will not be in London for much longer. He is rushing back to his family in Germany, in time to celebrate his youngest son’s fifth Birthday on Christmas Day.

    For full results visit www.olympiahorseshow.com

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