Whitaker stays 'steady' to win Derby jump-off

The wonderful 20-year-old Virtual Village Welham gave John Whitaker his third emotional victory in the British Jumping Derby yesterday, after completing two foot-perfect clear rounds. The 45-year-old rider and Keeley Durham's venerable horse received a standing ovation as they completed the winning jump-off round.

The wonderful 20-year-old Virtual Village Welham gave John Whitaker his third emotional victory in the British Jumping Derby yesterday, after completing two foot-perfect clear rounds. The 45-year-old rider and Keeley Durham's venerable horse received a standing ovation as they completed the winning jump-off round.

For the first time since 1993, there were three clear rounds over the marathon course of 16 fences. Tim Stockdale, who achieved the first of them on the chunky half-Shire horse, Traxdata Wiston Bridget, was clear again when opening the three-horse jump-off.

Stockdale had been told that nobody had jumped a double clear and failed to win the Derby, but this time was to prove the exception. After last year's victors - Rob Hoekstra and Lionel II - had one error in a faster time, Whitaker and Welham jumped the winning round.

Whitaker was aware that the crowds were urging him on. "As I came into the last I heard someone in the stands shouting 'steady, steady'," he said. The plea was, however, unnecessary. Whitaker, who was 9.06sec faster than Stockdale, had already taken a quick glance at the clock and he knew he had time to slow down for the last to get it right.

In a non-vintage year, riders could have expected to win with a clear opening round and Whitaker felt sorry for Stockdale and Hoekstra, who had both been faultless only to be defeated in the timed jump-off.

Welham's classic performance had partially eclipsed a marvellous effort from Stockdale's mount Wiston Bridget, who came down the bank as readily and neatly as any, as well as clearing all the fences. Stockdale put this down to training at home, where he had his own bank and dyke built. Despite defeat, he expressed delight with the mare's performance.

Whitaker's last victories were achieved in 1983 on 15-year-old Ryan's Son and 1998 on 21-year-old Gammon. "I think today was the best one of all," he said. "It's been the main goal all year for Welham and he's really fit. He didn't have much time to recover from the first round, but I think he was even better in the jump-off. This will definitely be his last Derby and it may be his last season."

Fourth place went to Ireland's Billy Twomey, whose only first-round error on Hilton, came at the last element of the influential Devil's Dyke where just six of the 29 starters left all three parts intact. Another Irishman, Cameron Hanley, was well fancied to win on Ballaseyr Twilight until the brave horse went down the 10ft 6in Derby Bank without a moment's hesitation, only to crumple on landing.

Paul Schockemohle, one of the Hickstead directors, received a phone call here yesterday to say that his great partner, Deister, had died in the morning at the age of 29. The horse won the Hickstead Derby twice and the European Championship three times.

TRAXDATA DERBY MEETING (Hickstead). Peugeot Derby: 1 Virtual Village Welham (J Whitaker, GB) clear, 86.56sec; 2 Traxdata Bridget (T Stockdale, GB) clear, 95.62; 3 Lionel II (R Hoekstra, GB) 4 faults, 92.93. Saturday: Traxdata Speed Derby: 1 Sublime (B Twomey, Irl) 102.09sec; 2 Harlem (G Williams, GB) 102.17; 3 Flip (I Kerr, Irl) 106.01. Hasseroder Trophy: 1 Traxdata Glenwood Springs (T Stockdale, GB) clear, 45.74sec; 2 Shearwater Gambit (D McPherson, SA) 8 faults, 51.82; 3 Lillebrore (H Luther, Ger) 12 faults, 48.72.

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker