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John Whitaker takes the NAEC Stoneleigh Stakes at HOYS

Saturday, 07 October 2017
CSI3* HOYS / Birmingham 2017

Photo (c) HOYS. John Whitaker and Argento won at HOYS. Photo (c) HOYS.

British master John Whitaker produced a vintage performance that showcased his magic on a memorable Friday night at the Horse of the Year Show.

The 62-year-old won the NAEC Stoneleigh Stakes on 15-year-old stallion Argento (Arko III x Gasper), claiming a victory that underlined his past experience as the jump-off riders were able to plot their own route in what they hoped would be the quickest time.

John clocked 29.07 seconds to take the top prize of £7,350, with Phillip Miller second aboard Roulette H (breeding unknown), 42 hundredths of a second behind, and the Czech Republic's Emma Augier De Moussac third on JCS Chacco Dia (Diarado x Chacco-Blue).

"It took a bit of doing," John said. "I worked it out in my mind, and I stuck to it and it paid off.

"It is always good to win. I still want to win and I still try to win. Argento is on good form, and he has been jumping really well for the past three months. I walked the course, and I thought it was quite good for me."

John's victory came only two months after he suffered a crashing fall on his 62nd birthday at the Global Champions Tour event in London, but he looked back to his best on an occasion when the crowd once again acclaimed his special talent.

"It wasn't the best of birthdays, but that is part of the game," he added. "If you worry about falling off, you are never going to win anything. You have got to go for it, that's the nature of the sport."

"I am quite fit. I've had my injuries along the way and ups and downs, but I still enjoy it, I still get a kick out of it, and I can still do it."

Anthony Condon takes the Grandstand Welcome Stakes

Photo (c) HOYS. Anthony Condon with Zira VH Kapelhof Z. Photo (c) HOYS.

Anthony Condon continued the feelgood factor surrounding Irish showjumping by launching the Horse of the Year Show international classes in thrilling fashion. Anthony, an Irish Nations Cup rider who is based in Cheshire, won the Grandstand Welcome Stakes and its £3,300 top prize with Zira VH Kapelhof Z (Zurich x Quickfeuer van Koekshof), clocking a lightning time of 40.98 seconds.

Drawn 27 of 29 starters, Anthony's time clipped more than a second off the previous leader's time - Frenchman Titouan Schumacher on Oceane de Nantuel (Diamant de Semilly x Quidam de Revel) - while Britain's Louise Saywell finished third with Feigtling (Chicago Z x Darco).

Anthony won the Boleswortth International Grand Prix earlier this summer, and his latest victory came just over a month after Ireland won European team gold in Gothenburg under the direction of their Brazilian chef d'equipe Rodrigo Pessoa.

"It was a fast class," Anthony said. "I saw some of the earlier horses go, so I knew how fast I had to go. She is naturally a fast horse anyway, and she helped me out a little but down the last line. I took a bit of a risk, but it paid off.

"It was a big boost to Irish showjumping to win that European gold medal. It was very well deserved. Our boys did brilliantly there, and it gives everyone a lift and an aim of trying to break into the team. I have been on a few Nations Cup teams this year, and it has been a great experience under Rodrigo. He has been brilliant with advice. I have learnt quite a lot from him. He keeps it very simple, and he is very knowledgeable. He understands horses very quickly, so he can give you some advice, and it makes a big difference to the rider and horse."

Eleven combinations went clear in the class, with Louise being followed home in fourth and fifth places by Belgian rider Francois Mathy Jr and Britain's Helen Tredwell.


Source: Press release from Horse of the Year Show // Pictures © Horse of the Year Show

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