Tom Whitaker had a stellar weekend at Addington Equestrian Centre’s Winter Classic Show as he secured victory in the final Winter Grand Prix of the season.

Monday 04 March 2024

Tom Whitaker had a stellar weekend at Addington Equestrian Centre’s Winter Classic Show as he secured victory in the final Winter Grand Prix of the season.

Tom Whitaker had a stellar weekend at Addington Equestrian Centre’s Winter Classic Show as he secured victory in the final Winter Grand Prix of the season.

Twenty-one combinations started over the 1.40m track, and such was the talent on display, 11 jumped clear to advance to the jump-off. Second to go with the newly acquired nine-year-old gelding Klaudius, Tom Whitaker jumped a foot-perfect, quick double clear to put the pressure on the rest of the field who followed.

However, Michala Scott quickly knocked almost a second off Tom’s time to jump into top spot riding Sam Scott’s eight-year-old gelding Eddie G Z – a horse Michaela has produced up the levels from a four-year-old.

It was starting to look like no one could catch Michaela’s time, as poles kept tumbling to the ground until Tom Whitaker returned with his second ride, Anna Svedberg’s Nova Aeg. Using his penultimate draw to maximum effect, Tom kept the 11-year-old mare in a steady but forward pace to speed into top spot by 0.42 seconds, Michaela dropping into second place.

“We had a very good show with multiple placings. I have ridden Nova for Anna Svedberg over the past year, and she just gets better and better, she keeps jumping her heart out for us,” commented Tom.

“I also couldn’t be happier with Klaudius. He is a new horse, Ralph Gilbert bought him a few weeks ago for me, and this is only our second show together. We came 5th in the Addington International Grand Prix then went onto be third in this one. I’m very excited about this talented horse.”

Not content with the victory in the Winter Grand Prix, Tom also secured two placings in the Winter 1.35m qualifier, taking top spot with his sister, Ellen Whitaker’s Righteous. Ten of the 29 starters returned for the jump-off, with Thomas using his early draw to set the target for the others to chase. With first place already secured, Tom gave it his all with second ride Nova Aeg but couldn’t quite catch his own time, slotting into second place, just 0.15 seconds in arrears. Joe Trunkfield chased the time hard but was unable to split Tom’s rides, taking third place with James Williams’ Greenacres Vanquish.

“The show couldn’t have gone better, especially winning the 1.35m on Ellen’s horse, who I took the ride to sell on. He [Righteous] had a great few weeks out in Oliva Nova and he is now going to Grace Gilbert, a student mine who also rode him this weekend and picked up two top ten placings with him,” added Tom.

 

Ed Eltham jumped to success in the Winter 1.25m qualifier with Fred Marshall’s Ibrina HBC. Forty-five competitors came forward to contend the British Showjumping Spring Championships qualifier, with 15 returning for the jump-off. Ed set off with determination on the 11-year-old mare and galloped through the finish in a time of 33.46 seconds that could not be caught. Lottie Tutt eased the eight-year-old Billy Dash, owned by The Billy Stud, into second. Irish rider Carolyn Bowman, who is based in Surrey, took third with her own Cash IV.

 

The Winter six-year-old qualifier went the way of Hannah Tiley with Samantha Baker’s Me Duck Be. Almost half the field unlocked the key to a clear round, with 19 of the original 42 starters advancing to the jump-off, Hannah claiming two rides. Hannah, who was last to jump, guided the six-year-old mare to a speedy clear in 34.76 seconds. Zoe Potter steered Michael Potter’s Loma De Reve LH into second almost two seconds behind the winners, Lucy Townley claiming third with The Billy Stud’s Billy Ga Ga (E.T).

 

Jennifer Billington, winner of the UNIBED – High Performance Equine Bedding Winter Grades B&C Qualifier, also claimed the Winter seven-year-old qualifier with Paul Billington’s Saulire Z. Seven of the initial 27 starters advanced to the jump-off, Jennifer using her penultimate draw to full advantage, speeding to victory by 3.69 seconds. Hadley Clarke slotted Miranda Clarke’s Lucky Luke IV into second, Zoe Potter securing third on Michael Potter’s Mowgli C.

 

Lottie Tutt came to the fore in the Winter Grade C qualifier with The Billy Stud’s Billy Dash. Eleven from a field of 20 battled it out in the jump-off with Lottie steering the eight-year-old mare round in a deceptively quick time to take top spot. Sam Ward secured second with Diana Verhulst’s Prowess De Muze, Michael Potter slotting his own Malibu RAG into third.

 

Zoe Potter outpaced all her rivals to take the Blue Chip Dynamic Grade B/Grade C qualifier, with the top three all featuring from the Grade C section. Twenty-three of the original 45 starters advanced to the jump-off with using Zoe her late draw to guide Mowgli C into first place. Sam Ward secured second with Vivaviga PS, Emma Jo Slater taking third with Fleur De Logis.

 

Michael Potter triumphed in the single phase Blue-Chip Karma Performance qualifier. Using his early draw, Michael set the pace to beat with Malibu RAG, ultimately taking top spot with 3.82 seconds in hand over Molly Heaps and Out of the Blue II in second place. Catherine Crane took third with Billy Hudson, a further half a second in arrears.  

 

Image: Tom Whitaker and Nova Aeg. Credit: Spidge Event Photography

 
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