John Whitaker’s early round on Team Harmony's Crumley in the Horse and Country TV Challenge Cup held off all challenges to secure the top spot.
“I’m very pleased with the way he jumped today, I thought we’d get something but I didn’t expect to win,” said John, on his second victory of the week. Argento had obliged in the 1.55m Stoneleigh Stakes on day one.
Twenty-five tackled this two-phase class with a crucial turn the decider on who won or lost. And it was who dares wins.
Second-drawn Helen Tredwell had made it look easy on her home-bred mare Larksong, but it proved otherwise.
“Originally my plan was not to go inside but to beat Helen it had to be done – although not many pulled it off,” said John, who got the ride on the nine-year-old Crumley – previously ridden by Francois Mathy – at the beginning of the year.
“He’s a really big horse – 17.1hh – but he doesn’t ride big, in fact, he’s got a short stride for a big horse which is perhaps quite lucky. He’s big but nervous and not quite used to the atmosphere, in the accumulator he hit the Joker because he tensed up, he was more relaxed today.”
John rates the Cassus gelding.
“He was fifth in the 5* grand prix in Valence and I think one day he’ll make a consistent grand prix horse, he just needs the mileage.”
Helen had to settle for second with Larksong, just 0.02 sec in arrears. Jos Verlooy slotted Caddie R into third and Anthony Condon picked up fourth on the Hales family’s Zira VH Kapelhof Z. The next best Brit was Guy Williams, in seventh on Dalton D’Hoyo.
Photos © Jumping Around