Whitaker looking to maintain top form

Will Whitaker and Upperclass.  Photo: Spidge Event PhotographyWill Whitaker and Upperclass.  Photo: Spidge Event Photography
Will Whitaker and Upperclass. Photo: Spidge Event Photography
THE purple patch of thriving Huddersfield star Will Whitaker continued at the weekend’s Longines Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead.

Whitaker, 22, approached the weekend’s Sussex showpiece on the back of a strong showing at the recent Great Yorkshire Show where he landed the Barber Titleys William Hanson Stakes and finished fourth in the main event – the Cock O’The Championship.

And Whitaker’s rich vein of form continued at Hickstead where he landed Friday’s Dunn Leisure International Stakes on Upperclass, scooping the £6,930 first prize in the process.

“I had a good show,” Whitaker told the Yorkshire Post.

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“The horses are in good condition and I’ve been working with these horses for a good couple of years now. It’s all just starting to click into place a little bit and hopefully, it carries on.”

Whitaker’s brother George also performed well, notably when finishing eighth in Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth II Cup on the promising Willetton.

“That was a good result for George really because his horse is quite inexperienced at that level,” added Will.

“He was unlucky not to be clear as he just knocked one down at the end, but his horse is one to look out for.”

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Huddersfield’s Joe Clayton also went strongly, including when finishing fifth in the QEII Cup on Aiyetoro. Doncaster’s James Hughes was also 15th on Peiter VI.

Clayton was then 11th on Ingliston Twister in Sunday’s main event – the Longines King George V Gold Cup (Grand Prix).

The prestigious prize was won by Ben Maher on Tripple X III. Will Whitaker was 40th in the main event on Fandango.

Yorkshire also enjoyed success in the event’s showing sphere with Stokesley’s Sami Elliott winning the Underwood Supreme Pony Championship.

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Elliott and Dance All Night initially won Sunday’s The Oggy Oggy Pasty Company BSPS Supreme Show Pony Championship to ensure their qualification.

They were up against the best ponies in the UK, but put in a flawless performance to take the Supreme Champion title.

This is the second time the five-year-old pony has won the class, with Dance All Night also Supreme Champion in 2012 with Sami’s sister, Lucinda.

“She has only done four shows this season and has won every one,” said Sami.

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“She’s just a normal pony when we’re not competing, we went for a ride on Redcar beach at 4am three days before the event.”

There was also success for Ripon’s Amy Tate and Caroline Darcy-Potts from Whitby.

Tate, from Grantley, won the BSPS Heritage Mountain & Moorland Supreme Pretty Polly Mini Championship with Anwood Dream Maker. Darcy-Potts, from Castleton, won the O’Connell Supreme Amateur Hunter Championship with Diamond Hill II.

Returning Townend in second-best triple

HUDDERSFIELD’S eventing ace Oliver Townend returned to the big time in sensational style at the weekend’s British Festival of Eventing at Gatcombe Park.

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Townend has missed high-profile engagements at Bramham and Luhmuhlen of late, but the world No 7 secured a hat-trick of seconds at Gatcombe led by Armada in the CIC three-star British Open event.

Armada and Townend were edged out by New Zealand’s world No 3 Jonathan Paget on Clifton Lush.

Townend also sealed second-place finishes in the Intermediate and Advanced classes.

Advanced entry ODT Ghareeb was beaten only by world No 2 William Fox-Pitt on back-to-back Bramham CCI three-star winner Chilli Morning.

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Fox-Pitt also denied Townend in the Intermediate on Fernhill Pimms, who narrowly mastered the Yorkshireman on Cooley Master Class.

Yorkshire riders Deb Eastwood and Lauren Charlton have completed their 200-mile expedition for charity.

West Hardwick’s Eastwood and Charlton, from Crofton, were attempting to conquer the Pennine Bridleway Trail, setting off from Kirkby Stephen in the Yorkshire Dales.

After initially departing last Thursday, the duo arrived at their destination of the Bakewell Show on Saturday.

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Eastwood said: “We completed the ride having ridden the best part of 180 miles and spending 54.75 hours actually riding.”

The duo then competed in a ridden heavy horse class at Bakewell with the fearless duo spending today and tomorrow fundraising before going home for the first time in 15 days.

Eastwood and Charlton were raising money for Weston Park Hospital where Eastwood’s 28-year-old son Tom has twice been treated for cancer.

Anyone wishing to help their cause can do so by visiting www.justgiving.com/Westonparkpenninechallenge