Robert Whitaker enjoyed the first international victory that he has achieved in this spacious main arena when he rode Quinten II to win yesterday's Hickstead Derby Salver, defeating the United States rider, Norman Dello Joio, by 1.88sec.
The American will be remembered for his triumph in the King George V Gold Cup here last year and, much earlier, for his win in the World Cup final of 1983, which was only a few months after the 19-year-old Whitaker was born. Having jumped the first clear round of the contest, Dello Joio saw his advantage snatched away by the gifted teenager.
Today Whitaker will be riding Quinten in the Derby Trial and, if all goes well, he intends to have his first shot at the British Jumping Derby on Sunday, in which his father John and uncle Michael also intend to take part. "They're getting used to me beating them now, so it doesn't matter so much," Robert said after his celebrated relatives finished behind him yesterday.
John Whitaker was runner-up in yesterday's earlier contest for the Refco Derby Tankard on Bit More Candy, who was the mount of Carl Edwards at the Sydney Olympics. Whitaker finished just 0.15sec behind James Fisher, who had opened the three-horse jump-off on Idle Dice and was pleased to stay ahead after Whitaker and John Popely, who had the last fence down in the fastest time on Luidam, failed to catch him.