Stuttgart – “It’s so to speak a family tradition,” said a beaming William Whitaker after learning that he has followed in the footsteps of his uncles, John and Michael. In front of 6,500 thrilled spectators at the 30th International STUTTGART GERMAN MASTERS Horse Show in the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle, he and his 11-year old gelding Fandango raced around the 10-rider jump-off to record the fastest clear round in 47.27 seconds. The ride secured the Briton the win in the Grand Prix of Stuttgart – presented by MERCEDES-BENZ, WALTER solar and BW-BANK. “After a rather quiet start to the show, it was a fantastic way to end it,” said the victor when summing up his week. “As second to go I knew I was going to have to take risks if I had any chance of winning. I was in luck and it turned out to be my day.”
The 25-year old won not only the qualifying class for the Longines FEI World CupTM Jumping 2014/2015 but also a Mercedes-Benz ML 300 D Off-Roader worth 52,000 euro. He additionally received 20 points for the Western European League ranking where he is now in 15th place after five from 12 stopovers.
The Whitaker family history in Stuttgart goes as follows: John Whitaker won the Grand Prix of Stuttgart in 1988 (on Milton) and in 1997 (on Welham) and Michael Whitaker won in 2001 (on Handel). Both are brothers of William’s father Ian Whitaker.
In the saddle on her ten-year old gelding Barron, Lucy Davis (USA) took second place (0/49.84) and 29,850 euro prize money as well as 17 world ranking points.
She is now lies fifth on 30 points. “After two months off horse shows, my horses were very fresh. I’m now simply very happy.”
Third was Olympia Champion Steve Guerdat (Switzerland) on his Olympic horse Nino des Buisonnets (0/50.43). “I just have to improve my jump-off,” joked the World No. 1. Marcus Ehning, the top German, was nevertheless “very pleased with the way my horse performed and the week in general.” He came fourth atop his Westphalian stallion Cornado NRW.
Captain John Roche, FEI Director Jumping Department, was “very, very, very happy at being able to congratulate the horse show on its 30th anniversary. It’s very special.” He thanked the organisers and all the sponsors.