John Whitaker gets Vienna off to a flying start

John Whitaker claimed victory in the Longines Global Champions tour opening 5* 1.45m with Echo of Light, the 11-year-old Holsteiner guided into first to take the class by 0.82 sec.

"I was last to go and knew what I had to do. I've had a few steady weeks where I haven't won much, and this class suited me and the horse. I like two-phase classes, you can take it easy and get the horse in a rhythm over the first seven fences and have a bit of a blast in the second part," said John, who has taken time and patience with Echo.

"It has taken a long time to get him to this level but I've always believed in his ability and I think I can do the big classes with him at the end of this year."

Jessica Mendoza took fourth on the 13-year-old Wan Architect.

Alexandra Thornton was double clear on Caballero 84 for 18th and Scott Brash gave the Indoctro 10-year-old a steady round in this two-phase competition to come home with two faults in the second half. Michael Whitaker and Celine had four faults in the first phase.

Laura Renwick and Bintang netted second in the feature 1.55m class of the day, the the Sixth Sense Challenge. Eleven of 43 reached the jump-off, with Laura and the talented Tangelo Van De Zuuthoeve 10-year-old easing into second 2.71 sec behind Germany’s David Will on Mic Mac Du Tillard.

Just one time fault prevented Michael Whitaker and Valentin R joining the jump-off and they finished in 13th. Jessica Mendoza on Spirit T, Scott Brash with Hello Forever and John Whitaker aboard Ornellaia came home on four faults apiece.

After jumping into sixth spot on Unique III in the silver tour 1.25m speed, just over three sec behind the winner, Tess Carmichael finished second on day two, two half sec in arrears. Bertram Allen’s younger brother Harry Allen – a force to be reckoned with in ponies – took the win on the nine-year-old High Valley. Abbie Summers and Quantas took third.

Tess was 19th with a clear in the 2* 1.40m on Atlantis PP Z.

Photos © Jumping Around