Joe Whitaker's phenomenal winning streak continues as he heads the opening International class a

Joe Whitaker’s amazing run of success continued at HOYS in the opening International class with a win in the ReadySupp Cup on Lavarno. And it marked his first International victory at HOYS.

“I’ve always wanted to win here since I was young, and it makes it extra-special on a home-bred,” he said.

Speedy Frenchman Julien Epaillard had set a sizzling, seemingly unbeatable standard in an early draw on Tradition De La Roque, and despite many challenges, no-one could catch him.

Joe had other ideas. He set off at lightning speed and didn’t take a pull, negotiating tight turns on the nine-year-old Lavarno like she was a gymkhana pony – she could have rivalled the Prince Philip Cup participants later in the day! And they swept into the lead by an incredible 1.30 sec.

“She’s only 15.3hh and rides like a pony, very active, and she’s careful and competitive,” said Joe, who is riding high on his best season ever after winning grands prix and Mercedes cars.

“This is the best year I’ve had in my life and it’s all down to horsepower and the horses underneath me.”

Lavarno and Lola are both home-bred daughters of Locarno – Ellen’s former top ride and a European bronze medallist now retired – and it is this pair that contributed to Joe’s recent success. Lavarno is getting a well deserved day off on Friday.

“The prep for this show was keeping her fresh,” added Joe.

British-based Irishman Anthony Condon filled third place on Kat Taylor’s Oklund 10-year-old Balzac with Helen Tredwell on Ann and Colin Garratt’s Unbelievable Darco 10-year-old Sebastian VII. Anna Power eased Chesterfield Z, a Chippendale Z/Sir Caletto 10-year-old, into fifth with James Smith on new ride Bolton Gate Ben – previously with Christie Pritchard – in sixth.

The big International class of the day the Grandstand Welcome Stakes carrying world ranking points, went to Belgium. Karel Cox used his late draw on the Cornet Obolensky/Corrado 11-year-old Cayen Van Het Hobos to head the hard-fought speed class.

“It was a very fast course. The course-designer makes you do the inside turns and tight lines if you want to win, taking an extra stride is not an option,” said Karel.

Drawn immediately behind Karel, Britain’s Guy Williams chased hard with the game 16-year-old Titus, but they were 0.98 sec in arrears for second.

Long-time leader Kerry Brennan took third with the feisty Quidam De Revel/Cash 13-year-old Wellington M with Belgium’s Jos Verlooy in fourth aboard Farfelu De La Pomme.

Anthony Condon claimed fifth spot on Chinook II with Robert Bevis and his super-consistent Courtney Z in sixth.

Photos © Jumping Around