Third British Open win to Robert Whitaker

April 20, 2009

Robert Whitaker and Lacroix 9 receive the British Open trophy.

Robert Whitaker has won the British Open Showjumping Championship for the third time, riding Lacroix 9 to victory in all four legs of the competition, which culminated at the NEC in Birmingham yesterday.

No other champion has won using the same horse in all elements. The other riders all chose to use two horses and keep their top horse fresh for the final. Fourteen-year-old Lacroix 9 jumped carefully all week to keep Robert at the top of the leader board going in to the final and the partnership kept their cool in the crucial jump-off.

Overnight joint leader Kevin Staut had the misfortune of falling off early in the course and immediately ending his British Open dream. Eventual second and third place went to Nathalie van der Mei and Robert Smith respectively. This was Nathalie's first show in England and proved she is able to produce excellent away form. Robert Smith rode a cracking jump-off on Vangelis S but it wasn't enough to catch Robert Whitaker who dominated this competition with first-class jumping from the start.

Some 23,000 visitors graced the LG Arena for the British Open to enjoy the jumping and equestrian entertainment including a spell binding display by Jean Francois Pignon.

This year's British Speed Stakes started in true style with strong line up of competitors. The winner was Laura Renwick on her super speedy mare Limelight de Breve. British leading lady Laura set the unbeatable time of 55.99 seconds early on in the competition. Swiss rider Marcus Fuchs finished second on Granie 5 in a time of 58.70. While Robert Smith and Columbia 11 competed the course in 59.27 to gain third place.

The PCA Futura Final saw Helen Tredwell and Naomi V gain their first win from the past four days. Six of the 18 riders in the class went through to the jump-off where Helen rode an impressive clear in the fastest time of 30.61 seconds. Mark Bunting and bay mare Arletter II finished second with a double clear and a time of 31.53 seconds. Mark was followed by Joe Clayton riding Saveur, in third, in a time of 33.77 seconds.

In other show competitions, Team KP Equestrian and The A Team drew in the Celebrity Arena Polo competition. Sadly Katie Price was unable to compete due to a recently sustained injury to her knee. However, she was ringside to cheer on her substitute, the British Open's very own Marketing & PR Manger Jade de Vere-Drummond, and the rest of her team. Amy Guy, captain of the A Team, and Katie were both extremely happy with the result.

• The British Open Indoor Cross Country competition featured top international event riders including Oliver Townend and Jeanette Brakewell. The fast and furious competition was won by 2006 champions Mark Kyle and Drunken Disorderly. Midway through the competition Mark set a very impressive time of 40.55 seconds. Oliver Townend and ODT Sona Rovatio weren't quite quick enough to catch him and were placed a credible second in a time of 41.10 seconds. Gemma Tatterstall and Ollie Artois finished third and last year's champion Georgie Spence followed in fourth.