Joe Whitaker added his name to the family’s long Horse of the Year Show success story when he claimed an impressive win on day two at the NEC in Birmingham. Yorkshireman Joe, brother of former Great Britain team rider Ellen Whitaker, landed the ReadySupp Cup – a two-phase competition against the clock.
Joe’s time of 24.70 seconds on the nine-year-old bay mare Lavarno proved enough to edge out Frenchman Julien Epaillard, riding Tradition de la Roque, while Ireland’s Anthony Condon was third aboard Balzac.
It was Joe’s first Horse of the Year Show international class victory, and continued a successful season that he has seen him feature among Britain’s most consistent performers. “I am very proud,” Joe said. “I have always wanted to win here since I was young. It is only the second time I have competed internationally here, and I am absolutely delighted, and more so with it being on a mare that is home-bred.
“Julien is a master of going fast against the clock over every size of fence, but my mare’s preparations have been good. I’ve had the best year I have ever had in my life, and it’s horse power. The mare and my other main ride Lola have just got better and better, and with those horses underneath me it makes my job a bit easier. I don’t know how much scope Lavarno has got at the end of the day, but she is always going to be very competitive and careful.”