John Whitaker is best Brit in Miami

In the Longines GCT grand prix of Miami Beach, John Whitaker on Argento was the only British hope after jumping clear in round one. In round two, 17 clears and a fast four faulter came forward over a tough course in the Miami heat. A midway vertical fell and dashed British hopes, and John and Argento finished on four faults and in eighth place.

Last year’s winner Scott Brash and the relatively inexperienced Hello Guv’Nor stroked out a back rail at the oxer following the combination in round one. Michael Whitaker and Viking also had four faults and Ben Maher with Sarena came home on eight.

Last to go Edwina Tops-Alexander scooted round on the little Lintea Tequila (Campbell/Corrado II) to take the top spot. McLain Ward on the impressive Thunder Van De Zuuthoeve 10-year-old HH Azur took second with Christian Ahlmann’s opening round on Epleaser Van’t Heike, a For Pleasure/Nabab De Reve 12-year-old stallion, in third.

The stars weren’t just limited to the horses and riders, although the 50-strong class included eight of the world’s top ten. International guests included Elle Macpherson, Sir Michael Caine, business tycoon and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Senator Marco Rubio, and singer Iggy Azalea.

Amanda Derbyshire headed the 2* 1.40/1.45m final with 0.34 sec in hand on the Cartani/Corrado I 10-year-old Lady Maria BH, a Cartani/Corrado I 10-year-old who won the Hickstead winter novice final for former owner Jamie Fry back in 2013. Nikki Freeman and Robert Bevis also rode this mare before she was sold to America.

Alexandra Thornton was 17th on Caballero with eight faults in the jump-off, and four faults in round one prevented Jessica Mendoza from contending the jump-off, leaving Toy Boy in 22nd.

And Amanda took into third in the 1.25/1.30m on Cannavaro BH, a Cardento 10-year-old produced by British-based Swede Angelie von Essen. Jessica was 18th on the 12-year-old Zahra II.

Photo © LGCT/Stefano Grasso