Will Whitaker claimed a fantastic win in the Queen’s Cup – Segura Viudas Trophy at the CSIO 5* Longines FEI Nations Cup Jumping Final in Barcelona on Saturday night.
Riding Fandango, a 14 year-old gelding he jointly owns with wife Elisabeth and her parents Bjorn and Anita Fredland, he was one of twenty-one combinations that posted a first round clear from the field of sixty starters. With so many coming forward for the jump-off it was incredibly hard fought with everyone trying to not only jump clear but also in a time that would cause others to error.
Jumping in the order that they were initiallydrawn, Will and Fandango were one of the latter riders to come forward for the jump-off. Already knowing there were a number of clears before him he decided to take a gamble by turning back after the wall and cutting a corner by jumping over some of the ornamental flowers that were dressing the arena between a carriage on display and the wings of one of the fences. It was a gamble that absolutely paid off and with spectators noisily willing him on he took a flyer at the last few fences, clearing them, to stop the clock in a time of 36.58 seconds.
Pieter Davos (BEL) with Claire Z, had a good try to catch Will’s time however failed to do so when they broke the finish line a fifth of a second slower to take 2nd place whilst Tiffany Foster (CAN) took 3rd place some 7/100th of a second slower than Pieter in 37.27 seconds. Tiffany had been the first rider that had decided to jump the decorative flowers to save time but despite having set the standard in terms of the lines that could be taken she just hadn’t managed to cover the ground fast enough to stop Will and Pieter relegating her down the final line up.
Talking afterwards Di Lampard commented “To say I am over the moon with Will’s win would be an understatement. He was tremendous today, his riding was World Class and Fandango was incredible with the way he took on the jump-off course. They both deserved to win, they have been outstanding”.
Paying tribute to Fandango after the presentation Will Whitaker said “Fandango is 14 years old now and he’s an experienced horse and a very talented horse which I have been lucky enough to ride for many years. I know him inside out and trust him totally which really helps when you are in a big jump-off like we were in today. We were lucky enough to have a late draw and were seventeenth out of the twenty-one to jump.
"My fellow team riders Michael, Ben, Scott and Guy were all watching the class for me which really helped as I could just focus on warming up whilst they were able to let me know we were had to do when I got in there. Michael had already spotted that I could jump the flowers when we’d looked at the course earlier as he mentioned it to me and I thought to myself I wasn’t sure. But then, when I heard that Tiffany Foster had jumped them, I knew I had to do it if we wanted to beat her. Fortunately, Fandango has plenty of experience and he just went in and did what he had to do and got the job done as they say!”
For full results visit www.ciosbarcelona.com