Whitaker in Winner’s Circle Early on Day 2
20th February 2016 Hong Kong
Riding his magnificent 14 year-old stallion Argento, last year’s Longines Grand Prix winner, he won the opening event on day two in a time of 39.09 sec. Whitaker was the second rider to jump in the final round and after such a slick time the sellout crowd knew it would be tough for any of the remaining 12 competitors to overtake him. He also had the benefit of huge crowd support being such a popular figure in Hong Kong. The champion rider said he felt the tight turning course really suited both him and Argento. “I think we won it everywhere but really galloping into the last fence was the winning move,” Whitaker said. Whitaker will line up on Argento in tomorrow’s $US500,000 Longines Grand Prix and compared with last year said the horse feels the same if not slightly better. “He feels great. He has been jumping everyday. Not many horses can go full speed all the time like he does and keep backing up.” Whitaker is now one of the favourites to win the Longines Grand Prix - the prestigious finale to the Longines Masters of Hong Kong tomorrow afternoon. Swizterland’s Pius Schwizer rode desperately to try and nab Whitaker finishing close but not close enough in a time of 39.62 sec. Irish star Betram Allen continued his good show in Hong Kong on his grey Hector van d’Abdijhoeve securing third place (40.29 sec).Germany’s Marco Kutscher and Van Gogh were fourth (40.43 sec) and Frenchman Roger Yves Bost fifth riding Record d’Oreal (40.84 sec).