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Horse of the Year Show 2012: Whitaker & Stockdale thrill a sell out crowd

Saturday, 06 October 2012

John Whitaker takes to wins at HOYS Friday. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.The crowd roared, the fences climbed and two British riders shared the spoils after the thrilling Harry Jo & Co Five Fence Challenge on a sell-out Friday at Horse of the Year Show. It could have gone to one round more, but as the only two remaining to contest the top prize after four corking rounds of jumping and with some fences standing a whopping 1.80m, Tim Stockdale and John Whitaker decided to share the honours.

In the Harry Jo & Co Five Fence Challenge, which was introduced to “The World’s Most Famous Horse Show” last year, each of the five fences are raised in each round over a maximum of five rounds. A fence down, a run out or a refusal means instant elimination. After round four and to rapturous applause, only Tim (Fresh Direct K2) and John Whitaker (Maximillian) remained.

“Because it was going to be a win for two Brits in front of a home crowd, we decided to share it,” said Tim “My horse jumped really well, so it was nice to be able to reward him for doing so.” John Whitaker agreed, and joked: “We are both a bit old, so it’s a relief! It might have been a different matter if there was a foreign rider in the class though!”

John Whitaker, riding Argento, went on to claim individual victory in the Zinc Management Trophy, which included a take-your-own line jump-off. Riders who were clear in the first round had to choose a six-fence route in the second, testing both their riding and navigational skills. But John had the benefit of a little family help from his son, Robert. “I had one route and Robert told me his was better,” said John. “Although we both helped each other, him going before me helped me to work out what strides I had to get where.”

Ireland’s Dermott Lennon is using his visit to Horse of the Year Show to return Loughview Lou-Lou to competition following a break after the Dublin Horse Show in August. Taking it steady on day one, he upped the pace significantly today to claim his victory. “Yesterday was her first class back, but today I needed to be competitive so I could gain points towards qualification for Sunday’s Leading Show Jumper of the Year Grand Prix,” said Dermott. “Because riders are trying to do the same, it’s now making the classes very interesting.”

Click here for full results.

Source: Press release from HOYS.

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