huddersfield’s wILL Whitaker gave his 2014 campaign a huge shot in the arm by leading a British one-two-three in Sunday’s 100,000 Euros CSI three-star Vejer de la Frontera 1.60m Grand Prix.
Riding his partner Elisabeth Fredlund’s 11-year-old dark brown gelding Fandango III, Whitaker stopped the clock in 49.27 seconds to take top spot in Spain. Out of 53 combinations, only five jumped clear in the first round and four of them were British riders, who again went on to jump clear in the second round. Whitaker, 25, and Fandango III jumped the only double clear in under 50 seconds.
A proud Whitaker beamed: “I’m just over the moon to be honest. We got off to a great start with a win in the Grand Prix in the first week, and he’s been on form all show, so to finish with a win at the end is the icing on the cake really.
“It was trickier than the other courses but it had to be because there were a lot of good horses and riders, with the 60 best riders from the other weeks competing. The course-builder did a very good job, it was a really close competition but it just suited me and the horse.”
Not far behind was Surrey’s William Funnell on Billy Stud’s 13-year-old brown stallion Billy Congo. They produced their double clear in a time of 50.55 secs.
In a real triumph for the Whitaker family, Will’s cousin Robert finished in third.
Riding his parents John and Clare’s 10-year-old brown stallion Catwalk IV, Whitaker’s double clear came in a time of 52.58 seconds.
The Yorkshire Area Point to Point season continues with the Badsworth and Bramham Moor point-to-point at Whitcliffe Grange, Ripon on Mother’s Day Sunday. Eighty-five entries have been received for the meeting which starts with the Confined Race at 1pm. Admission is £10 per person.
On the eventing front, Yorkshire’s Oliver Townend and Nicola Wilson head to Burgham in Northumberland this weekend. Townend was in winning form at Gatcombe last weekend where Karyn Shuter’s Black Tie II posted his second Open Intermediate win on the trot. Stephen and Victoria Hazeldine’s Skyhills Cavalier was also an Open Intermediate winner.