John Whitaker Blazes Past the Competition in the Royal International Stakes CSIO 5* at Hickstead

Hickstead, England – July 29, 2022 – The Whitaker showjumping dynasty logged their fourth win in the main arena at the Longines Royal International Horse Show CSIO 5*, taking top honours in the Royal International Stakes CSIO 5* last Thursday with Prince Torki Bin Muhammed Al Saud’s Sharid.

The British legend and the 13-year-old Selle Français (Toulon x Vancouleurs) won by nearly a second and a half over second-placed Tobias Meyer (GER) and Casablanca H (Conteur)

The three main powerhouse nations of the noble sport were represented on the podium as Olivier Robert (FRA) rode Vadrouille d’Avril – 0 – 64.41

“He’s been jumping really well; he’s usually the back-up horse to Equine America Unique, but he is actually very good,” says John. “He’s thirteen, but’s still improving – in the beginning, he was difficult to control, but because I always knew he could jump, it was worth just working on it and the control has really improved.”

“They’re all different, and it’s just about getting to know them and improving them. That doesn’t happen overnight. You have to keep working away; if you can improve them a half a percent or a tenth of a percent every time you ride, that does add up.”

Sharid’s position as John’s second-string mount doesn’t negate the enormous talent the horse possesses, which is starting to make itself particularly apparent as he reaches his peak.

“Although he’s been jumping really well, he hasn’t actually won that many classes. So it’s good to get this win – he deserves it,” says John.

John’s early draw in the class – and a sticky moment at the outset – meant that the victory was far from assured. But his quick recovery and economic riding ensured that for much of the class, he actually sat comfortably nearly ten seconds ahead of his nearest rivals.

“I was second to go, and it’s difficult to win a speed class like that. I decided I was going to do one stride less from fence one to fence two, but that didn’t work out – I lost my rein, and everything went wrong! But from then on, it was perfect. You just have to stay calm.”

Final Results – €8,000 The Royal International Stakes CSIO 5*

1) John Whitaker (GBR) & Sharid – 0 – 61.97

2) Tobias Meyer (GER) & Casablanca H – 0 – 63.42

3) Olivier Robert (FRA) & Vadrouille d’Avril – 0 – 64.41

Source: Press Release (edited) from Hickstead Press Office

Photo: © AEJC / Hickstead / Elli Birch / Boots and Hooves Photography