Jack Whitaker dominates in Opglabbeek

The future is bright. British junior, pony, children and young riders were on form at Sentower Park, Opglabbeek, Belgium, and posted several victories in the four-day, Youth Festival meeting.

Jack Whitaker confidently stepped up to the plate to take victory in the Ashford Farm junior 1.40m grand prix on the 11-year-old Stakkato De Fee. They had 0.96 sec in hand over their nearest rival to lift the 1,000 euro prize. Jack also took ninth in the 14-strong jump-off, posting clear and four on second ride Cherryfras De Rialfo Z. Jodie Hall-McAteer was unfortunate not to participate in the jump-off, just one time fault in round one on Coquin De Coquerie Z denying her the chance. Tabitha Dean and Blown Away came home on five faults.

Jack was a winner earlier in the week, taking the top two places in the under 25 1.45m aboard new ride Street Hassle, a 10-year-old Quick Star stallion, and Valentin R, just 0.43 sec separating the pair. Nearest rival, the Netherlands Teddy van de Rijt on Lander Z, was well over a sec in arrears.

And Jack almost made it three! He was in the mix in the 13-strong jump-off of the under 25 1.45m grand prix and provided the fastest time with the Heartbreaker 14-year-old Valentin R, but a rail on the floor dropped them from possible victory to ninth place. Belgium’s Leonie Peeters won on Sunny Girl.

Jack riding Cherryfras De Rialfo Z also joined fellow Belgian competitors to make up a team in the junior competition, and the quartet promptly won on a total of two time faults.

In Friday’s under 25 1.35m, Isaac Hall claimed fifth on the Vittorio nine-year-old Conrad with David Murdoch 11th on Raphaela Von Berekenbroeck – also 10th in Saturday’s class.

Jodie and the Vincenzo/Heartbreaker nine-year-old Colette secured the top spot of the initial junior small tour 1.25m by 1.62 sec in a 59-strong two-phase class. Jack and Cherryfras and Tabitha Dean aboard Ibrador Van De Rhamdia Hoeve also posted easy double clears. Jodie and Colette also took third in Saturday’s big tour junior 1.40m speed, just 0.41 sec away from winning. Four faults dropped Jack and Stakkato De Fee down to 14th.

And the British grand prix dominance continued, with Oli Fletcher capturing the top spot in the Ashford Farm children-on-horses 1.25m grand prix with the 10-year-old mare Little Business. Nine reached the jump-off here with Oli taking command by 0.55 sec.

Ellie Hall-McAteer also jumped double clear on the Kannan/Cavalier Royale 15-year-old Dazzle to take fourth. And 2016 reigning Foxhunter champion, the Lupicor six-year-old Fayot – winner at HOYS with Laura Pritchard – jumped into eighth place with new rider Gustav Christian Jacobsen riding for Denmark. Ben Clark claimed 10th on the 11-year-old Lanverdel with a first round time fault and also took 17th with four faults on the Clarimo seven-year-old Clarence.

Oli had already fired a warning shot earlier in the week, taking first and third in the Mercedes childrens big tour 1.25m speed on Little Business and the eight-year-old Dahar, winning by 0.82 sec. Ben Clark took seventh on Clarence.

Flo Norris snatched victory in Friday’s children’s 1.20m by just 0.06 sec on Darling HDH, an Ard VDL Douglas/Oklund eight-year-old previously ridden by Anna Power and winner of the HOYS 2015 newcomers final. Oli claimed second on Dahar and sixth with Little Business in the 31-strong class. Ellie Hall McAteer and Winde took 16th with Ben Clark also double clear on both Lanverdel and Clarence for 18th and 20th places.

Jessica Blatchford claimed fifth and eighth places in Sunday’s children-on-horses 1.15m with Chennai and Clementiene, and the nine-year-old Chennai was also seventh in Saturday’s 1.15m.

Jodie and the amazing, effervescent Tixylix claimed victory in Saturday’s pony 1.25m speed, finishing with 1.46 sec in hand. Drew Walton and Tequila Twist took third three sec behind Jodie, and Oli Fletcher jumped into fourth on new ride Zodianne Van De Doevenbree – a former ride of Jack Whitaker. Flo Norris and Nils D’Hurl Vent stood in 11th place with Jodie also 15th on Lea Du Genier.

Ireland prevented a British whitewash by heading the pony grand prix, Adam Carey aboard Stakkati taking the win by 1.26 sec over Jodie Hall and the fantastic Tixylix. Flo Norris was the only other Brit to reach the 16-pony decider and finished 15th with Nils D’Hurl Vent. Jodie on second ride Lea Du Genier and Oli Fletcher aboard Matchano both returned four faults in round one, as did Robert Murphy’s former ride and HOYS 2015 JA winner Rainbows Mocha with new rider Gustav Christian Jacobsen.

Flo and Nils D’Hurl Vent took second in the initial pony 1.20m, just 0.21 sec away from a win. Drew and Tequila Twist claimed fifth with Jodie and Tixylix seventh. Also posting double clears was Drew on Trevoulter Ladies Man, Antonia Platt with Carnhill Luna and Oli Fletcher on Matchano and Zodianne Van De Doevenbree.

The British pony team of Antonia Platt (Carnhill Luna), Drew Walton (Trevoulter Ladies Man), Ellie Hall McAteer (Future Interest) and Oli Fletcher (Matchano) finished sixth in the team competition. Ireland dominated with first and fifth places – the winning team of Harry Allen (The Little Squire), Charlotte Houston (Sweet Whispers), Sean Monaghan (ballyowen Maybell Molly) and Max Wachman (Blessington Grange Mist) winning following a tense, nail-biting jump-off.

Katie Waldock-Smith and the appaloosa 13-year-old Clailu Saffron triumphed in Saturday’s pony 1.15m, winning by 0.24 sec. Flo Norris and the nine-year-old stallion Craughbell Boy took ninth. And Katie also took seventh in Sunday’s pony 1.15m speed. Ellie Hall McAteer jumped a steadier clear for 12th on Cevin III and Flo Norris took 17th with Craughbell Boy.

Photos © Jumping Around