Equestrianism: Classy choice for Whitakers

Click to follow
Ten horses have travelled to London from John Whitaker's West Yorkshire yard in time for today's opening of The Horse of the Year Show at Wembley Arena. Three of them - Virtual Village Grannusch, Randi and Heyman - will be ridden by Whitaker himself. The others will be shared between his daughter, Louise, his son, Robert, and his 19-year-old stable jockey, Paul Barker.

Louise, who is 17, is the current holder of the national women's title, which she won this year. She was the victor of two classes (the Under- 21 and Under-18 Championships) at Wembley last year and this week has the opportunity to ride Cowboy Magic Gammon in three international classes.

Barker is also among the 10 young riders who have been given three chances of taking on the international contestants at Wembley. He will be partnering Barry Bug, with whom he had the best British score of the winning Nations Cup team in Bratislava, incurring just 0.25 of a time fault in his two rounds.

Last year, Barry Bug was one of the horses who helped John Whitaker to a Saturday treble at The Horse of the Year Show