Equestrianism: Whitaker beats uncle twice

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The Independent Online

Robert Whitaker had the audacity to beat his uncle Michael twice when he won two classes here during yesterday's closing day of the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

His rewards included £4,100 for winning the Grand Prix on Lacroix, with Michael just 0.78 behind him in second on Insultech Mozart. Michael finished third when the 23-year-old son of his brother, John, rode Rudeski to win the earlier Oneida Viviers B&C Handicap. Michael Whitaker was leading from Mark Armstrong on Thesaura when Robert came in last of the 12 jump-off contenders on Lacroix. He had watched his uncle's round and did not appear to be pushed when going a split second faster. However, he did point out that Michael would have been faster if Mozart had not wasted time bucking between fences.

Lacroix was bought from French rider Hubert Bourdy in January, shortly after Robert's Ublesco (in whom the Whitakers had just half a share) was sold to the United States. Bought from their part of the proceeds, Lacroix is fortunately proving an able replacement, though he still has some way to go. The 11-year-old competes in Madrid this week.

"It will be a big step up for him," Robert said. "If he goes well there, I expect we'll be on a Nations Cup team." He does not want to do too much too soon though, so is not aiming for a place in this year's World Equestrian Games.

Meanwhile Michael, who has his sights firmly set on the Games, is going to the Super League shows in Aachen and Rome this month with Portofino (his main hope) and Mozart.