Robert Whitaker, the British-ranked number six rider, blew away the opposition in the first international showjumping class of the day at Saturday’s Horse of the Year Show. The Accumulator sees riders collect points for each fence jumped, with a maximum score of 65. Any combinations finishing on that figure are separated on time. Robert was one of seven riders to jump clear and showed great precision and speed right from the off.
Having to settle for second place last night in the Take Your Own Line class, Robert knew he had to up his game for today’s competition. Setting a tough time to beat of 47.63 seconds aboard Dekato, fellow competitor and winner of yesterday’s Grandstand Welcome Stakes, Anthony Condon, was hot on Robert’s heels. Riding Zira VH Kapelhof Z, Anthony produced an impressively quick round but came home less than a tenth of a second slower, allowing Robert Whitaker to take the spoils.
A new ride for Robert, 11-year-old Dekato is owned by Jessie Drea. Robert commented: “I’ve only been riding him a week and it was the first time jumping him in the ring yesterday. He’s very quick and ultra-careful, always looking for the next fence. I think he’s got a big future ahead of him.”
It’s been an exciting start to the International showjumping classes at Horse of the Year Show, and with plenty more classes to come, including tonight’s Puissance and tomorrow’s Grand Prix, the jury’s out on who will take these illustrious titles.