Equestrianism: Gently does it for Whitaker
Friday 18 December 1998
Though Whitaker said that his winning round was "not break-neck stuff" it looked fairly spectacular to those watching another superb perfor- mance from the Yorkshireman. He was, he says, able "to take a bit of a pull" coming in to the last of the 10 fences, which was on an awkward turn and was the undoing of some of his opponents - notably Robert Smith, who was last to go on Senator for the Best.
Lesley McNaught, the British-born rider who represents Switzerland, had been first to go when she raced round on Bim II. She eventually stood second in the line-up, between Whitaker and his younger brother, Michael, on eight-year-old Hilton, with whom he was third in the World Cup qualifier at Millstreet in Ireland in October.
Grannusch, who won the first two legs of this year's Volvo World Cup final in Helsinki before dropping back to ninth place in the overall placings, has kept his form remarkably well with his advancing years. Whitaker, who has a reputation for keeping elderly horses in winning form, is well aware of the chestnut gelding's limitations.
"He's such a trier, I don't like stretching him to his limits," Whitaker said after yesterday's victory. "Sometimes I think Grannusch struggles over the bigger fences, so I'll probably ride Welham in the World Cup qualifier."
Welham is only a year young-er than Grannusch and Whitaker, who knows both horses so well, wonders whether his two veteran mounts might be a little bit too well aware of their rider's way of doing things. "It's like kids, they know me so well that they're aware of little things that they can get away with," he said.
The husband and wife partnership of show jumper William Funnell and three- day event rider, Pippa, repeated their success of two years ago when winning the earlier Petplan Family Pair Relay final. William, who was first to go on Comex, had told his wife to "go for it" on his nine-year-old show jumping horse, Henkie. Pippa duly obliged.
"I thought to hell with style," Pippa said, having emulated her husband by jumping a fast clear round. They were the only pair to finish without jumping penalties for victory over Paul Barker and his second cousin, Joanna Andrews, with John Whitaker and his 18-year-old daughter, Louise, in third place.
"We tried to do too much and we both had a silly fence down," Whitaker said. He and his daughter nevertheless did better than his brother, Michael, and son, Robert, who had been threatening the leaders until dropping the teddy bear that took the pace of a baton.
Michael should have retrieved the bear but his mount, Twostep, was sidling away from it. His nephew, Robert, therefore thought it would be quicker to dismount and pick it up himself, but unfortunately this apparently smart bit of thinking led to the pair's elimination.
Petplan, who sponsored both of yesterday afternoon's show jumping contests, have announced their support for the Blenheim International Horse Trials for the next three years. The first prize for the Oxfordshire event will therefore be increased to pounds 6,000 next year.
OLYMPIA SHOW JUMPING CHAMPIONSHIPS: Petplan Stakes: 1 Virtual Village Grannusch (J Whitaker, GB) clear, 47.40sec; 2 Bim II (L McNaught, Swit) clear, 48.11; 3 Virtual Village Hilton (M Whitaker, GB ) clear, 48.59. Petplan Family Pair Relay Final: 1 Comex (W Funnell) and Henkie (P Funnell) clear, 70.17sec; 2 Kildalton Lad (P Barker) and Townhead Karibund (J Andrews) 4 faults, 72.30; 3 Virtual Village Heyman (J Whitaker) and Livingston II (L Whitaker) 8 faults, 76.28.
Latest in Sport
Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo: Compare the Barcelona and Real Madrid players in El Clasico
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo
Manchester United vs Chelsea: Jose Mourinho to push for Diego Costa to play at Old Trafford
Sunderland vs Arsenal: Premier League match preview
Real Madrid vs Barcelona: Why will the first 15 minutes of El Clasico not be shown on British TV?
- 1 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 David Beckham's Haig Club whisky is exactly what’s wrong with the Highlands
- 4 Queen's first tweet: Reply telling Her Majesty to 'f*** off' broadcast on BBC News
- 5 #AskNigelFarage: Twitter starts hilarious Q&A for Ukip leader
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Tony Blair 'says Ed Miliband will lose 2015 general election'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Putin: The US is to blame for almost all the world's major conflicts
Poppy Appeal 2014: This is why I won't be wearing a red poppy this year
£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...