WILLIAM WHITAKER will be hoping to go one better than last year in the jointly sponsored Team Murka and the World Class Programme Under 23 Championship Final at Olympia tomorrow.
After coming second last year to Daniel Neilson, who is returning to defend his title, Whitaker is riding a more experienced horse this year in Upperclass II, but knows that it won’t be easy.
“The Championship at Under 23 level is always a hotly contested competition that has a lot of top young riders and horses in it,” admitted the Huddersfield rider.
“Daniel has been jumping at a very good level this year, as has my brother George, so it is not going to be an easy task, but of course I would love to go one better this year and win it.”
Although Whitaker didn’t land the 2011 title, he did win the Style Prize that was judged in the first round of the competition by International show jumpers Peter Charles and Kevin Staut, and afterwards show jumper Peter Charles commented: “William’s style was perfect, very elegant, precise, polished and correct.”
“There are a lot of stylish riders this year,” replied Whitaker.
“And being stylish is not something I think about on a day to day basis, it’s more about my position and how it affects the horses way of going”.
This prestigious competition carries a generous prize fund of £15,300, with the winner scooping £5,100, making it one of the most prestigious young rider competitions in the country.
The jumping tracks are purposely built to give these young riders the experience they require when jumping abroad on the International circuit, that will see them tackle fences between the heights of 1.45m – 1.50m.
Any one of the 24 young riders who will be jumping in the Under 23 Championship would dearly like the title of Under 23 Champion, but having come so close last year, this is one title that Whitaker would like to hold.